Pitzer Spotlights

Carter Rubin '09 Sends Us a Note from Pitzer in Botswana

Carter Rubin
Carter Rubin '09 in the Sunday Standard offices in Botswana

As a Political Studies major, I came to Botswana because I wanted to better understand how a country that has had only one political party in power since independence can have the most open and transparent governments in Africa (according to Transparency International). So for my directed independent study project, I believed that an internship at a private newspaper would provide a good glimpse at how, and if, independent media operate as a watchdog in this unique political environment.

I chose the Sunday Standard for a few reasons. First, the pace of a weekly seemed best for me, considering this is basically my first time writing for a paper. Second, the editor Outsa Mokone was almost kicked out of Botswana for being too critical of the government (but was cleared by the High Court). The graphic design of the newspaper has won several awards and has a really clean look to it using mostly blues and grays, modern looking.

So far, I've written a reflection piece that covers my experiences in Botswana and what I view are the country's strengths, weaknesses, and areas for potential growth. In this coming Sunday's edition, I have two pieces, one about the strained relationship among two opposition parties vying for a larger slice of electoral pie. The other is a pretty generic write-up about a new loan program that is being offered by the National Development Bank (but I did get to interview one of the Bank's managers). I am also hoping to cover how the ongoing economic collapse in Zimbabwe, and the subsequent influx of (mostly poor) immigrants, is affecting life in Botswana from a class/ethnicity standpoint.

My activities at Pitzer are Student Senate (I was Sophomore class representative last year and plan to participate in senate again in some capacity when I return), 5C club volleyball, and The Other Side art/literature magazine.

Click below to read my first two articles:

Carter Rubin '09 is currently completing his semester abroad through the Pitzer in Botswana Program. To learn more about the program, click here.