|A native of South Africa, Dr. Vernon Domingo, a geography
professor at Bridgewater State College, was in his own words, “one of the
disenfranchised under the apartheid system.” Now more than 25 years after
he was expelled from one of the South African “ethnic” universities, the
University of Western Cape (limited to “Coloureds”) and blacklisted for
political activism, he will return to his homeland as a Fulbright Scholar
for the first eight months of 2002. This is the second time that Dr. Domingo
has been selected as a Fulbright Scholar. His first Fulbright experience
was in 1994, when he traveled to Suriname, South America. Dr. Domingo
is one of approximately 110 Americans who have been selected for the 2001-2002
academic year to teach or conduct research in 27 African countries. It
is not a coincidence that he is
returning to his homeland, in fact, he applied specifically for this charge for
several reasons. "I want to witness how life has changed for the peoples who
process, which takes almost a year, concluded in April when Dr. Domingo
his announcement letter from the Fulbright Commission.
be teaching two courses at the University of Fort Hare in Alice, South
Africa, one of the
oldest historically Black universities in Africa. One course will be on research methods, with a
strong emphasis on those techniques that are especially appropriate in Third World settings where
applied research is needed for social and economic development. The second course will focus on
the African environments, which will emphasize how development on the continent is affected by the
interaction between humans and their changing physical and cultural environments.
be dividing my time between teaching these two courses and doing research
in the field,” said
Dr. Domingo. “My research will focus on how households and local communities evaluate their
water resources and how they organize to gain access to this critical resource.”
a particularly scarce resource in the Eastern Cape region, which has a
rainfall and is experiencing more damaging droughts then ever before.
“As a geographer,
I am focusing on water needs because obtaining water for household needs,
drinking and sanitation is perhaps the most intense relationship that individuals have with the
environment,” said Dr. Domingo.
Beyond his work in South Africa, Dr. Domingo believes his experiences will also benefit the college.
my students that we live in a global society where every place has a connection
other. This Fulbright Scholarship will help me to learn more about the world so that I can share it
with my students when I return.”
He is also
looking forward to visiting with his parents, siblings and their children,
who still live in
South Africa. Life for his relatives is much different than the world he left so many years ago.
“My parents know that their grandchildren in South Africa now have choices and opportunities
open to them that their own children never had. Universities that were once off-limits to some are
now open to everyone,” said Dr. Domingo.
His wife and two children will accompany him for part of his stay.
children, this is an opportunity for them to have enriching experiences
and to see the world
through different eyes. I hope that through this experience, they will see that people all over the
world strive for basically the same things — food, shelter, clean water and good health — but also
for the broader issues of a strong community, a caring family and the dignity which makes us all