Jacksonville, FL (September 14, 2017) – The University of North Florida (UNF) has entered into two agreements with VOTAC (Voices of the African Continent). These agreements are for the parties to collaborate on a Visiting Scholars Program and pilot broadcasts of news and current affairs programs. Department of Communication faculty will also be appointed to serve on VOTAC’s Advisory Board.
Starting in January 2018, the University of North Florida will select five seasoned African journalists from a pool of applicants to participate in its Visiting Scholars Program. These journalists will spend one academic year in Jacksonville, at the Department of Communication. While in Jacksonville, they will be paired with faculty advisors, attend select classes, and coordinate and facilitate seminars, symposiums and conferences involving the university community, public leaders and captains of industries. Also, they will serve as anchors and managing editors on VOTAC’s news and current affairs programs, initially livestreamed from the Department of Communication’s broadcast production studio.
VOTAC has agreed to cover program fees and the expenses of selected applicants.
Africa has 54 countries and 1.1 billon people, 370 million of whom are in the middle class. The continent is positioned to become a major economic power, with a collective GDP of $2.5 trillion, and seven of the top 10 economies in the world are in Africa. By 2050, a quarter of the world’s population, 2.5 billion people, will be in Africa. According to GSMA, the umbrella body for the mobile industry, Africa is the world’s second largest mobile market, but also the least penetrated. It predicts smartphone numbers will triple in the next five years.
The collaboration between the Department of Communication and VOTAC can benefit those on campus and beyond. “The UNF Department of Communication is committed to preparing students for the global marketplace and providing students with internship and job opportunities,” said John Parmelee, professor and chair of the department. “Our partnership with VOTAC helps with both goals.”
Abraham Tuyo, Founder and Interim CEO commented “VOTAC’s slogan is Enriching the World. For this to be realized, the African perspective needs to be reflected in access to complete, accurate and relevant information, especially in this Digital era. VOTAC aims to be the conduit for content generators and subscribers on the continent and in the Diaspora. We believe our relationship with the University of North Florida, specifically the Department of Communication, will help to further develop the talents needed to achieve this aim.”