Diasporian News of Sunday, 3 November 2013
Baldwin Wallace University political science professor and Lakewood resident Thomas Sutton has been selected to receive a Fulbright Scholar award that will fund a semester of scholarly work in Ghana.
As a Fulbright grantee, Sutton will spend the January – May 2014 semester teaching three political history courses at Ghana’s University of the Cape Coast. He will also conduct research into the parallels between recent presidential elections in the West African nation and the United States.
“I’ve been told the people in Ghana closely followed the two election cycles here involving President Obama and that they were influenced by his campaign themes, particularly in 2008,” Sutton said.
In his research, Sutton also plans to examine how Ghana deployed a high tech “biometric verification system” to match voter fingerprints at polling stations in the December 2012 national election. “They really leapfrogged over us in the use of technology,” Sutton said.
In spite of the cutting edge system, aimed at reducing fraud, the election results have been embroiled in a Ghana Supreme Court challenge claiming the polls were rigged in favor of the narrow winner.
The core Fulbright Scholar Program sends a distinguished group of U.S. faculty and professionals abroad each year to lecture and conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. It is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”
"I'm honored and deeply grateful to the Fulbright Program for making this exchange possible," Sutton said.
Sutton, his wife and two teenaged children will relocate to Ghana for the semester and his children will attend school there. "I have both scholarly and personal interest in Africa. Our children are African-American and biracial," he said. "We want to explore this part of our family's history and culture by living in and learning about Ghana and West Africa."