Two students developed a computer center in rural Togo, which has inspired a new DukeEngage program in the same village. This is one of several new DukeEngage programs this year.
Special to The Chronicle
Two students developed a computer center in rural Togo, which has inspired a new DukeEngage program in the same village. This is one of several new DukeEngage programs this year.

DukeEngage is expanding its domestic and international programs for the 2013 year.

The multiple additions include a Durham “Sister Cities” project that will allow students to focus on doing service in the city of Durham and its sister city, Durham, England. The trip is unique in that it allows students to aid both the regional and international community.

Other new projects include an initiative in Boston, Mass., focusing on social issues and one in Togo, Africa, with an emphasis on working with local youth to resist their migration to other African countries and provide job opportunities within their villages. DukeEngage has also restored its program in Hyderabad, India, after a two-year long hiatus.

“What we’re trying to do is constantly expand the mix of DukeEngage programs so that the range of student interest can be fed by those programs,” said Stephen Nowicki, dean and vice provost of undergraduate education.

All three programs are led by professors who have specific connections with both the location and the material being covered. In Togo, Charlie Piot, Creed C. Black associate professor of anthropology and African and African American studies, will serve as leader, whereas the Boston program will be led by Tony Brown, professor of public policy and sociology. The Hyderabad program will be headed by Leela Prasad, associate professor of ethics and South Asian studies and faculty director of Duke Center for Civic Engagement, who is returning to the program.

“The original idea of DukeEngage was that faculty at Duke would be the leaders for the vast majority of them and that is, more or less, what we’d like,” Nowicki said.

DukeEngage also gives students the chance to submit their own proposals and go on their own self-created DukeEngage service programs. Nowicki noted that students definitely take advantage of this opportunity and are present throughout the world.

“A couple of years ago, my wife and I went to Iceland,” Nowicki said. “Turns out when we were there, there were a couple of DukeEngage students who had found [a nongovernmental organization] that was running a women’s clinic.”

Two programs held in past years, one located in Tanzania and the other in Cambodia, will not take place summer 2013. The former, the Literacy Through Photography program, is being replaced by its counterpart in Hyderabad and will return for the summer of 2014. The program in Cambodia, on the other hand, was discontinued because DukeEngage did not finalize a contract Projects Abroad, the organization who helped to facilitate the excursion, by its Oct. 1 deadline, said Eric Van Danen, director of communications for DukeEngage.

DukeEngage was started in 2007 through two gifts of $15 million each from the Duke Endowment and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This funding has allowed students to join community service programs in other parts of the United States and around the world, with 450 students participating in 2012.