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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Chai Wai Series: Global Health in Sierra Leone

A resource guide to accompany the March 9th Chai Wai entitled, "Global Health in Sierra Leone: A look at how 'grand challenge work' can benefit from interdisciplinary academic cooperation".

Global Health in Sierra Leone: A look at how "grand challenge" work can benefit from interdisciplinary academic cooperation

Please join us at the International and Area Studies Library next Thursday, March 9th from 2- 3:30pm for our second Chai Wai of the Spring Semester!

A long standing partnership between the University of Illinois and Njala University in Sierra Leone has shifted its focus in recent years from agri-business to emphasize themes of global health.  This Chai Wai presentation will bring together researchers who have recently traveled to Sierra Leone to talk about their experiences and research related to mental healthcare, gender disparities, the Global Health Initiative and library support for all of these efforts. Please join us for "tea and something".

Erin Kerby, Veterinary Medicine Librarian
Kenny Long, Department of Bioengineering
Jessie Fitts, Graduate in the Department of Psychology
Alli LaHood, Undergraduate in the Department of Bioengineering

"Grand Challenge Work"

What is "grand challenge work", you ask?


Grand challenge work refers to an initiative, called Grand Challenge Learning Initiative, in which undergraduates are invited to connect their general education studies to real-world topics of pressing concern: Health and Wellness; Inequality and Cultural Understanding; or Sustainability, Energy and the Environment. 

"Our goal is to inject new vitality and coherence into general education. Too often, students are encouraged to approach “Gen Eds“ as a box to be checked or an obstacle to be overcome on the way to their degree. Instead, the GCL Initiative invites students to see how general education helps them to develop into critical thinkers and citizens well-versed in deep and interdisciplinary learning, and who are able to work in teams on creative and innovative projects.

We recognize that student success is greatly enhanced by an early opportunity to develop close working relationships with faculty members and diverse student cohorts. Therefore, in planning our Grand Challenge Learning courses, we have strived to develop inclusive classes by recruiting interested faculty from many different colleges and promoting the courses in all schools and colleges so as to attract a diverse student body.

Students taking courses in Grand Challenge learning are encouraged to follow a "pathway" of courses following the theme (Health, Inequality, or Sustainability) that most interests them. Each pathway introduces undergraduates to the extraordinary resources of a land-grant, research campus at the University of Illinois."

Visit the Grand Challenge Learning Pilot page for more information!

Chai Wai Series

'What does "Chai Wai" mean?' you're asking yourself.

'I get "chai"-- that means "tea". But what is this "wai" business?' you say.

Fear not, wise traveler! We have answers!

Chai Wai is Hindi for "tea or something like that" and is the name of our event series at the International and Area Studies Library at UIUC. Chai Wai events give the campus community an opportunity for enlightened conversation on important global issues.

Come bring your own thoughts, questions and ideas and enjoy free tea and refreshments on Thursday, March 9th at 2pm!