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Last modified: Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tanzanian ambassador to visit IU Bloomington April 30 to May 2

New links between the university and East African nation to be forged

April 25, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Mwanaidi Sinare Maajar, the United Republic of Tanzania's ambassador to the United States, will visit Indiana University Bloomington April 30 to May 2.

Tanzanian ambassador

Mwanaidi Sinare Maajar

Print-Quality Photo

Maajar's visit to the Bloomington campus is sponsored and being coordinated by the Swahili, Turkish and Chinese Language Flagship programs in the IU College of Arts and Sciences.

During her visit, Maajar will meet with faculty and students, attend a reception and speak at a dinner on May 1. Also participating will be Robert Slater, former director of the National Security Education Program and developer of the Language Flagship Program.

The following day, Maajar will meet with Tanzanians who are studying or residing in Indiana.

"We are honored that the ambassador has chosen to visit Bloomington," said David Zaret, vice president for international affairs. "Tanzania and its national language, Swahili, have been areas of continuing interest for IU faculty and students, as part of IU's long-standing commitment to African studies.

"I am particularly excited by the possibility of forging strong links between Tanzania and our new Swahili Flagship Program," Zaret said.

Larry Singell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, added, "The visit allows our learning communities to discuss contemporary issues with a leading diplomat, while highlighting the College's strong language and cultural expertise."

Swahili, or Kiswahili, is the language of more than 70 million people in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, as well as in parts of Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and the Comoros islands. Swahili is the lingua franca of many of these countries and is an official and national language of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

IU has a strong African language program, housed in the Department of Linguistics. Swahili tops the list, with high numbers of enrollments at all levels. At IU, Swahili is taught to undergraduate and graduate students from elementary to advanced levels. Many IU students study Swahili to participate in programs in Eastern Africa and to prepare for careers in governmental and non-governmental agencies.

"The Swahili Flagship program at IU is the only one of its kind in the country and provides students with a wonderful opportunity to reach a superior level of proficiency in their majors through one-on-one language partners and a yearlong study abroad at the State University of Zanzibar," said Alwiya Omar, clinical professor of linguistics and the program's director. "The Swahili Flagship center is a truly wonderful program for students interested in globally focused careers."

The Language Flagship, a partnership among the federal government, education and business, selected IU Bloomington as a site of the Swahili program in late 2010. IU is the only university in the country that is home to three Flagship programs.

Before her appointment as her nation's ambassador in July 2010, Maajar was Tanzania's high commissioner to the United Kingdom. Her diplomatic career follows an extensive legal and professional career in the East African country.

She was a partner in two of Tanzania's leading law firms and has extensive legal experience in corporate and mining law litigation. Before setting up her legal practice in 1991, she worked as a senior legal advisor with the Central Bank of Tanzania and as business manager at Coopers & Lybrand, the predecessor of PricewaterhouseCoopers there.

Maajar has been a member of several public enterprises, government entities and private companies and was an active member of the Tanzanian Women Lawyers Association, a non-governmental organization formed to help women and children access justice and advocate for women's rights. She chaired the Tanzanian Women Lawyers Association from 2001 to 2003.

Born and raised in Moshi, Tanzania, Maajar has two degrees from the University of Dar es Salaam.