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Metro State donates books to Ethiopian sister city

9:51 AM, Nov 21, 2010   |    comments
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It's an effort Metro State staff and a small group of students launched half a year ago.

"What a wonderful gift this is to the University of Axum," Dr. Ali Thobhani, Metro State's director of international studies, said.

The University of Axum in Ethiopia is 5 years old with about 5,000 students, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the library shelves.

"You see the library, most of the stacks are empty - nothing - and only a few books available," Thobhani said.

Last spring, Thobhani visited Axum University with other Metro State staff, including psychology professor, Dr. Mary Ann Watson.

"The libraries were just totally empty. It was just sad," Watson said.

The empty shelves prompted Metro State to launch a massive book drive.

"Between faculty, and the bookstore, and every department on campus, they contributed books to the book drive," Dr. Watson said.

"It is really wonderful to see how students have responded to our appeal for help," Thobhani said.

The government is also responding.

The Department of Defense Humanitarian Program is paying for the shipping to Ethiopia.

"We know they will be greatly appreciated," Thobhani said.

Metro State also raised $25,000 to replace an elementary school near Axum made of tree branches.

Axum is one of Denver's 10 international sister cities.

"It's just a wonderful feeling. The campus community really came together," Thobhani said.

The $25,000 donation will be presented for the new elementary school when the president of Metro State delivers the commencement speech at Axum University in June.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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