Wheelock College Hosts Rescue Scholar

May 01, 2013

Rescue Scholar Visits Wheelock CollegeWheelock College recently hosted Dr. Gadziro Gwekwerere, an International Rescue Scholar and Zimbabwean lecturer in African music and ethnomusicology.

During her two-week stay in Boston in March, Dr. Gwekwerere attended several Wheelock performing arts classes; made a presentation to teachers and students at the Renaissance Charter School; visited Roxbury Community College, Berklee College of Music, and the Mattahunt Center afterschool program; and met with a variety of Boston-area music and education professionals.

"The programs offered at Wheelock and the international approach to education here is encouraging," she said. "Wheelock students' understanding of the outside world is quite unique in my experience. At some institutions, you talk about Zimbabwe and people don't know where it is. People here understand the problems of Africa."

Dr. Gwekwerere is in the United States on a fellowship from the Institute of International Education (IIE) Scholar Rescue Fund, which provides support for established scholars whose lives and work are threatened in their home countries. The fellowships permit these scholars to find temporary refuge at universities, colleges, and research centers anywhere in the world, enabling them to pursue their academic work in safety.

Originally from Zimbabwe, Dr. Gwekwerere completed a Ph.D. in African Music from the University of Pretoria in South Africa and an M.A. in Music Education from Reading University in the UK. For five years, she lectured at Greater Zimbabwe University (GZU), where she was the only faculty member with a higher education degree in music. During her tenure there, she launched the university's first baccalaureate and postgraduate degrees in music education and served on Zimbabwe's Research Council for Higher Education.

Support from the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund allowed her to join The New School in New York City as a Visiting University in Exile Research Scholar for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years. While at The New School, Dr. Gwekwerere has published several articles on Zimbabwean music, politics, and culture. She also completed a book titled "Music of the Shona People of Zimbabwe: A Cross Cultural Comparison."

Dr. Gwekwerere said she plans to use the experiences and contacts she gained at Wheelock and The New School to help her native country, perhaps by establishing a partnership that can supply books or technology to communities in Zimbabwe. Dr. Gwekwerere hopes to return home eventually, but is not sure the political climate is right yet. "Even if I can't change the political system there, I can give back to the educational system from here," she said.

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