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Lesesne To Lead
Delegation To South Africa

Teri Lesesne

Teri Lesesne, associate professor in Sam Houston State University's Department of Library Science, has been selected by People to People Ambassador Programs as the delegation leader for a School Librarians Delegation to South Africa.

Lesesne's delegation will travel to Johannesburg, Capetown, and Kruger National Park in October.

The People to People Ambassador Programs chooses delegation leaders based upon recommendations and the individual's accomplishments in the field, as well as their expertise in the specialty area of the particular program. The delegation leader assists People to People Ambassador Programs in defining the academic, technical, or scientific focus of the program and in identifying prospective program delegates.

Lesesne holds an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Language, Literature and Reading from the University of Houston. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in children's and young adult literature in SHSU's Department of Library Science since 1989, and has coordinated the Young Adult Conference each year since that time.

She has also served recently as the president and vice president of the Greater Houston Area Reading Council and has participated in numerous programs and activities relating to teaching English and to reading.

"The delegation to South Africa will focus on literature for children and young adults," said Lesesne. "It is my goal that the delegation begin by bringing American books to schools and universities in South Africa in the hopes of beginning an exchange program between the two countries in this area. I also hope we can visit teacher education preparation programs and discuss how we each achieve the goals of helping future teachers develop literacy skills in youth."

Each member of the delegation will keep a journal of activities and observations.

"The primary purpose of this delegation is to forge new professional connections between the United States and South Africa to promote literature and literacy in each country," said Lesesne. "Some of the discussion topics we will address are: What is the state of the juvenile book industry in South Africa? Who are the major publishers, authors, and illustrators? What training do teachers and other childcare professionals receive in juvenile literature? What authors, illustrators, and publishers are already represented in South Africa? and What needs might cultural exchange in children's literature address for children in each country?"

People to People Ambassador Programs was founded in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in an effort to better promote cultural understanding among countries. Although originally administered by the State Department, People to People Ambassador Programs became a private, nonprofit organization in 1961. International exchanges administered by the group's Ambassador Programs focus on specialized disciplines within the fields of medicine, law, agriculture, business, life science, education, sports, and the basic sciences. Hundreds of delegations have traveled to a variety of countries including China, South Africa, Cuba, Russia, Hungary, and Australia.

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SHSU Media Contact: Julia May
May 3, 2000
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