Reconnecting with students he taught as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nigeria five decades ago, Professor of Economics Alan Frishman P’00 recently attended a reunion dinner in Kano, Nigeria with 17 of his 63 former pupils.
“Most teachers never find out what their students have done with their lives and whether what they learned made any impact on their careers, especially 50 years later,” Frishman says. “This is even more true of Peace Corps volunteers, who rarely return to their country of service.”
The gathering was coordinated by one of Frishman’s former students who contacted him while he was conducting research in Kano this winter. Frishman taught high school math from 1966 through 1969 in Birnin Kudu, Nigeria.
During the visit, the former students presented Frishman with a plaque that states, “Golden Jubilee Anniversary Award presented to Professor Alan Frishman (Mathematics teacher 1966-69) – In Recognition of Your Positive Contributions and Guidance in Making Our Lives’ Journey a Reality.”
Honored and moved by their gesture, Frishman notes the students went on to become engineers, bankers, teachers, a surveyor, a Nigerian ambassador and a Kano State governor.
“They all said how much they appreciated my teaching and that they used the math I taught them,” says Frishman. “I sincerely hope my economics students at the Colleges have as many positive memories of our classes together as my Nigerian students do.”
This was Frishman’s eighth return to Nigeria since his “life changing” Peace Corps service. Frishman later studied economics at Northwestern University, and received his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics after getting a Fulbright Scholarship and writing his dissertation on Kano.
He joined HWS in 1976. His academic and scholarly interests focus on the economic development, urbanization and industrialization of countries in Africa (primarily Nigeria), Asia and Latin America. He received his B.S. in mathematics from City College in New York City, and is a member of the American Economics Association and the African Studies Association.