While Miss World contestants were visiting in Nigeria, Peter Chemery of the admissions office was visiting secondary schools in seven other African countries.

Chemery traveled to Africa as part of Yale’s efforts to recruit more international students. The trip, which was originally planned for last year but canceled because of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, consisted of discussions with heads of schools, presentations to students about American education, and college fairs. It was organized by the Council of International schools, an organization that works with secondary schools and universities worldwide to promote international education. Chemery traveled with representatives from 14 other schools, including the University of Pennsylvania and Northeastern University.

Dean of Admissions Richard Shaw said the trip was part of the admissions office’s continuing mission to recruit international students.

“[The trip] continues the effort taken to serve the world,” Shaw said. “We’ve done a pretty good job of covering most everywhere.”

This fall, admissions officers visited Europe and South America as well. In the spring, Yale plans to recruit in Asia and again in Europe, Chemery said.

Yale President Richard Levin said international recruiting is a high priority for Yale.

“To make sure we reach the whole globe, our efforts to attract students from all over the world have to be ongoing,” Levin said.

Chemery said he was confident the number of African applicants would increase next year as a result of the trip. Last year, 188 students applied from Africa.

“I cover Africa and Asia, and my portion of the early decision pool had the biggest increase, so it has been, really, for as long as I have been at Yale, the fastest growing segment of the application pool,” he said.

He said he thought Yale’s need-blind admissions policy was especially attractive to international students and would help Yale increase its number of applicants. The University began offering need-blind admissions to international students last year.

“I’m interested in meeting the best students and making sure the heads of schools know that we can support them, because money is a big issue in that part of the world,” he said.

But Chemery said recruitment was not the sole purpose of the trip.

“It was as much learning about school systems [in Africa] as it was talking about higher education and telling people about Yale,” Chemery said. “I’ve been reading African applications for 20 years and I wanted to learn as much as I could about the schools and the school systems.”