KSU honored for work with sports and persons with disabilities

Georgia (Feb 1, 2009) — Against the backdrop of “a new era of cooperation” between the United States and Libya‚ the Libyan Paralympic Committee has awarded Kennesaw State a gold medal recognizing its work with persons with disabilities.
On Jan. 29‚ Ali Elgerbi‚ of the Libyan Paralympic Committee‚ and Fatma Bin Sofia‚ of Libya’s Today International Center‚ presented WellStar College of Health and Human Services Dean Richard Sowell with the gold medal for work being done by the college’s Global Center for Social Change.
“We recognize how much KSU is doing for the disabled‚” Elgerbi said through an interpreter. “This is the beginning of our relationship‚ one of respect. What we see here is not only the work you are doing with sports and the disabled; we see the American people‚ and we will transfer that to the Libyan people –– all of the emotion and feeling.”
Last spring‚ KSU entered into partnerships with Alexandria University and Helwan University in Cairo‚ Egypt‚ to establish a center for educating persons with disabilities and those who teach‚ coach‚ live and work with them.
As a result of those partnerships‚ Ben Johnson‚ associate dean of community partnerships and global initiatives at the WellStar College and director of the Global Center for Social Change‚ gave a presentation last fall at a conference in Egypt attended by representatives of universities‚ nongovernmental organizations and Paralympic committees‚ including the Libyan Paralympic Committee.
“We look forward to having collaboration‚ not only with disabilities‚ but a relationship with America‚” Elgerbi said.
In September‚ then−Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a historic trip to Libya in an attempt to bridge gaps between the two countries and establish a framework for building formal relations. Rice was the first U.S. secretary of state to visit Libya since 1953.
“We’re humbled by this worldwide recognition‚” Sowell said. “Ultimately‚ our relationships with other countries are about us getting to know each other as people outside of politics. It’s a whole lot easier to fight a stranger than a friend.”


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu