Duarte Morais, associate professor of recreation, park and tourism management in the College of Health and Human Development, and Ladislaus Semali, associate professor of education in the College of Education, are co-recipients of the W. LaMarr Kopp International Achievement Award for faculty.
Established in 1995, the award recognizes faculty and staff members who have contributed significantly to the advancement of the international mission of the University. It is named for the late deputy vice president for international programs.
A respected scholar in the area of tourism, Morais is becoming known increasingly as an international scholar. In 2004, he became a key member of the Inter-Institutional Consortium for Indigenous Knowledge working group for development in East Africa and secured a competitive grant to support training and capacity building in Tanzania. In 2008, he led the development of a research proposal involving perceptions of wildlife and the quality of life of indigenous communities in Namibia, and is now partnering with the University of Namibia and another Namibian organization to create a social networking system to assist Namibian women in developing social entrepreneurial ventures.
Recently Morais formed a partnership among the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence, the University Office of Global Programs and a multi-campus network of faculty to compile an Embedded Education Abroad Faculty Toolkit. He also serves as his department's professor in charge of international relations.
Semali is chair of comparative and international education in the College of Education. His record of scholarship and research includes more than 30 scholarly publications regarding indigenous pedagogies and education. "His professional expertise is equaled only by his enthusiasm, dedication and commitment to use his knowledge and skills to make the world a better place," one nominator said.
In 1995, he collaborated with previous Kopp Award winner Audrey Maretzki to establish the Inter-Institutional Consortium for Indigenous Knowledge at Penn State. This consortium facilitates the activities of a University-wide working group on indigenous knowledge and development in East Africa, through which faculty and students conduct collaborative research and help rural communities use their local knowledge systems to address the United Nations millennium development goals.
In 2008, Semali directed a study of the social networks of women agro-entrepreneurs in northern Tanzania and their cell phone use. Based on the study, the WishVast social networking system is being tested in Kenya and advancing toward commercialization. Currently, he is leading an initiative to establish a bachelor of education program to train secondary-school science teachers to stimulate innovation, discovery and entrepreneurship at Tumaini University in Tanzania.