Africana Abroad is a travel, production, and publishing alliance, founded by Brian Hughes Kasoro along with The Liberator Magazine/Live From Planet Earth to foster Africana literacies in diaspora travel & 8 African/Indigenous American adolescent study abroad tour/leadership programs from 6 cities, including New York (International Youth Leadership Institute, Brotherhood Sister-Sol), Atlanta (Habesha, Sankofa Spirit), Baltimore (Afrikan Youth Alchemy), St. Louis (Good Journey), Philadelphia (Sankofa Freedom Academy), & Detroit (Atlantic Impact).
In short, we simultaneously consult pro bono with multiple non-profit community organizations in order to foster better relations between them, cut across barriers of institutionalization, and assist them with raising the bar for their storytelling practices. We advocate that only a poly-institutional unified approach will enable each independent organization to leave behind the tired realities of most academic, political, and not-for-profit workers who essentially mentor on how to become good PowerPoint presenting tourists. Each of our partners has joined the alliance voluntarily and through mastery-level collective storytelling modeling, we are helping recreate a world evoking the ancient African — or, most-ancient human — values of intimate and holistic role modeling for how to peacefully foster healthy intergenerational families and relationships.
Our focus is on helping the members of the alliance turn tourism and study abroad experiences into accredited language, writing, science, or social courses, using critical multimodal literacies to produce oral (talk, song, rap, language), textual (reading, writing, visual), and practical (farming, dance, instrumentation) good work*, music**, or speech*** prior to, during, and after travel that exceeds common "standards" and is ready for publication across The Liberator's production and distribution platform.
Through workshops and/or teleconferencing, we work year-round with groups of students who have traveled, are currently traveling, are preparing to travel, or are just thinking about traveling in the diaspora to provide open access to a qualified**** staff's 10+ years of writing, artistic, editorial, design, and production experience (literacy coaches and editorial guides assisting students through the professional drafting and revision process) as students work toward producing, keeping, and connecting their stories gained while engaging African diaspora sites.
Member organization leaders serve as students’ primary contacts and sources of encouragement and leadership training, helping students make their story production experience similar to that of an intern or regular contributor. Notable contributors to The Liberator have been Dr. Greg Kimathi Carr (chairman of Howard University African American Studies), Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ (son of Kenyan novelist Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o), Dr. Anyabwile Aaron Love (Pennsylvania State University African American Studies postdoctoral fellow), Dr. Melisa Riviere (University of Minnesota Anthropology professor), and some who have gone on to work at BuzzFeed, LivingSocial, and Ebony Magazine. The Liberator has published over 50 African American travel stories from over 12 diaspora nations and sites to date.
Our Goals: (1) to create cooperation & collaboration around a mastery-level Africana literacies curriculum that earns traveling students academic credit for developing varied profile & narrative skills for research & communications; (2) to normalize Africana study abroad for African descended youth; (3) to represent a powerful united alliance that mutually promotes & supports Africana study abroad programs & organizations, culturally-relevant Africana literacies, & Africana Studies to communities & schools; & (4) to serve as a diasporic storytelling & educational exchange-asset. We invite your Africana study abroad program to join the alliance.
* "Five days to go: working for the next day/ Four days to go: working for the next day/ Say we got: three days to go now/ Working for the next day/ Two days to go (ooh): working for the next day (yea)/ Say we got: one day to go/ Working for the/ Every day is/ Work."
** Love, A. B. (2014). Uninterrupted conversations with our eggun: Preliminary considerations for methodological approaches to the research of African music and the music of John Coltrane. Temple University, Philadelphia.
*** "Let us begin with a paradox of the human experience: eternity and time. On the one hand, humanity experiences the everlastingness of cosmic events. On the other hand, the regular recurrence of those events conveys the sense of time which seems to contradict the sense of the eternity. That is, eternity means no beginning and no end while time seems to mean just the opposite, i.e., a beginning and an end. The problem, however, is one in speech rather than experience, since one can experience both time and timelessness. The solution is thus found through the appropriate statements applied to the relevant experiences. The Kemites had established a solar calendar at the dawn of history. The sun therefore became for them the definer of time. So, to raise the question, When did things begin? was to ask when did time begin. The answer is simply, 'the first appearance of the sun,' and since the sun rises 'every day forever,' we have time and eternity existing together without one cancelling out the other." (Carruthers, J. H. (1995). Mdw Ntr: Divine Speech: A Historiographical Reflection of African Deep Thought from the Time of the Pharaohs to the Present. London: Karnak House.)
**** Academic backgrounds from Howard University, Temple University, California Institute of the Arts, Columbia University and The New School in fields such as English literature & education, fine arts, Africana studies, journalism, and political science.
(Brian Hughes Kasoro, Columbia University Teachers College, Institute for Urban & Minority Education)
Can intimate, Africana literacy-based study abroad immersion experiences heal cultural amnesia, foster agency and identity construction, and ultimately nurture the educational success of African-American high school students?
What if we could transform how our students operate within the educational paradigm through programs that provide opportunities to attain academic credit while studying outside of the container of the classroom and beyond borders?
The renowned educational psychologist Asa Hilliard III led study abroad trips to Egypt and other diaspora sites for 15 years, leaving a body of work that illustrates the diaspora's importance to the education of African-Americans suffering from what he called a unique "acute amnesia." Priests, philosophers, and scientists have theorized on the necessary quality of immersion in natural environments and I add that the same quality exists for cultural environments. The sum of natural and wise, cultural, geographical, and spatiotemporal spaces parallel to and beyond any given neo-colonial moment hold all of the necessary but still scattered parts of the African experience. In partnership with The Liberator Magazine, we hope to produce whole stories.
I am interested in cultural memory, identity construction, authentic exchange, and culturally relevant literacy. My research explores the intersection of African-American literature and hands-on Africana Studies through study abroad, and the pedagogical value of that intersection to the mastery of English ("Common Core" standards, etc.) and the development of critical literacies for authentic exchange.
The Africana diaspora, as a site of living cultural memory, can activate increased motivation for literacy and storytelling in English. In other words, I ask how can exchange with cousins in the diaspora (broadly defined as immersive cultural learning spaces outside of the classroom that serve as sites of living cultural memory and exchange) uncover the type of stories that increasingly motivate students to master literacy tools in order to tell them.
Ayi Kwei Armah outlines as narrative, characterization, description, themes, structure and design, imagery, and points of view) of Africana literacies (what Dr. Carr outlines as social structure, governance, ways of knowing, science & technology, movement & memory, and cultural meaning-making) into our stories and lives.
Cultural amnesia can be healed when student ambassadors experience the diaspora for themselves, in the context of storytelling practice and authentic exchange learning, by participating in their full cultural and intellectual genealogy with agency. The interest in commonality and the ties that bind, for learning and innovation, is at the deepest root of human civilization and is the backbone of civilized diplomatic ethic. For instance, the Bantu say, "I am because we are" (ubuntu) like the early ancient Kemites and Egyptians said, "A person is a person because of people" (ankh pu peret). Exposure to the broader cultural community provides a greater number of relevant stories and active roles to sympathize with — motivational fuel for mastering literacy and narrative (particularly in English for African American high school students). Multimodal reading and writing from the crossroads of past, present, and future in that broader cultural community fosters the critical Africana literacies and further develops capacities for authentic exchange — using voice, global awareness, and culture in service of integrated individual, family, and community development.
By fostering and observing their writing over the course of their travel and publishing, we continue to amass both qualitative and quantitative data that proves the value of high school study abroad to learning, and literacy in particular.
Share your views. I would love to hear from you: parents, teachers, students, and artists. Do you know adolescent students who might benefit from an Africana-oriented study abroad experience? Do you know of another program working in study abroad? Are you interested in being interviewed in order to share your opinion on the value of study abroad for our students?
Help fund adolescent study abroad for African-American students. I also welcome inquiry from individuals and organizations that want to support, and have questions about, the development of study abroad programs and curriculum for African-American students.
Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations Presentation (2014)
Based on an independent familial study abroad trip to Jamaica in January, our team from The Liberator Magazine presented at the 2014 annual international conference of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations at Essex County College in Newark, New Jersey. The presentation was called "The Traveling Africana Study Group: Diaspora Sites of Building for African Deep Thought."
Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations Presentation (2013)
Presenting at the 2013 annual international conference of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations at Howard University in Washington, DC was unforgettable. While I'm still working on how to speak my focus concisely in English, I've adopted a new working title: "Investigating and Navigating Authentic Exchange in the 21st Century African Diaspora: Asa Hilliard, the Traveling Africana Classroom, and Our Journeys Back To the Grand Narrative."
AFRICANA STUDY ABROAD NEWS
Changing education paradigms
The World Is Made Of Language
(Shots of Awe)
Academic Outcomes of Study Abroad: Inside Higher Ed
(Inside Higher Ed)
In 2000, researchers began an ambitious effort to document the academic outcomes of study abroad across the 35-institution University System of Georgia. Ten years later, they’ve found that students who study abroad have improved academic performance upon returning to their home campus, higher graduation rates, and improved knowledge of cultural practices and context compared to students in control groups. They’ve also found that studying abroad helps, rather than hinders, academic performance of at-risk students.
Whispers in the wind / Malcolm X's "Message to the Grassroots"
(The Liberator Magazine)
Gullah Geechee Storyteller Preserves a Painful Past
The Reality of Voluntourism: Change Takes More Than Good Intentions
We have all been hit up in fundraising appeals, whether it is from aspiring volunteers or charity organizations themselves. Fact is, organizations need money to run their operations, and the “make a difference” marketing is a large part of that. But, it sends the message that there are quick fixes for big social issues, and this kind of marketing fuels the social good business (not to mention, raises a lot of money)—reinforcing the idea that if you just have good intentions, change will happen overnight ... In a way, the volunteering industry does the same thing. Because volunteering has become a rite of passage for many young people, there is an entire sector that works to capitalize on their ideas of giving back...
Keynote advocates collaboration in Africana Studies
(The Daily Pennsylvanian)
Looking towards the future, Griffin expressed a desire for people from different fields such as anthropology, history and the arts to work together to create an “informed conversation” in Africana studies. “Institutional projects, in addition to nurturing our individual research … could house, could incubate [and] could fund collaborative dialogues, discussion, working groups and projects that are less about the production of new work as it is about taking the time to read works that we haven’t had time to read,” she said.
Black Americans undergo cleansing from 'slavery stigma' in Africa
"The king, Eze Chukwuemeka Eri of a town called Aguleri in southeastern Nigeria, conducted the ritual ceremony following Igbo traditional rites. Afterwards, he pronounced the visiting African-Americans as princes and princesses of the royal house, bestowing them with Igbo names. Almeida was given the Igbo name Princess Ogechi Eri. The pilgrimage was part of the inaugural Ebo Landing Project , a 2012 initiative of Nigerian historian and scholar, Catherine Acholonu. Acholonu, a former Fulbright Scholar who also served under the administration of Nigeria’s two-time president Olusegun Obasanjo, says the Ebo Landing Project is needed to help African-American break ties with their enslaved past and give them a sense of honor. “We want to build a generation of African-Americans who have royalty,” says Acholunu. [...] The Ebo Landing Project gets its name from Ebo Landing, a historic site in Dunbar Creek along the marshes of Georgia’s St. Simons Island. As the story goes, in 1803 a group of recently- captured Igbo aboard The Schooner York had opted to die rather than submit to a life of slavery in a foreign land. They revolted and walked, together, into Dunbar Creek, where they drowned in a mass suicide. The oral story follows that ever since, the place became known as Ebo (a predecessor of the modern spelling of Igbo) Landing. Some say as the Igbo walked into the water, they repeated a chant saying, “Orimiri Omambala bu anyia bia. Orimiri Omambala ka anyi ga ejina,” which translates as “The water spirit Omambala brought us here. The water spirit Omambala will carry us home.” The Omambala River mentioned in the chant refers to a river in southeastern Nigeria known today as the Anambra River. It is in the Anambra River that King Eri performed the ritual ceremony. In that river, the 10 African-Americans were dipped as part of the cleansing. “It can be a cathartic experience, intellectually and spiritually,” Davis says. The Ebo Landing story, has been passed down through the generations, with several variations, preserved by the local inhabitants, the Gullah/Geechee people. It’s become part of the African-American folklore tradition, referenced in pop culture, including in the popular children’s story The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton and the highly acclaimed 1991 independent movie Daughters of the Dust. [...] “I’m a black woman in America, but I am an African-American,” she says. “I can say that now without any hesitation because I’ve been there and I’ve seen it.’"
Rewild the Child
An overview of research into outdoor education by King’s College London found that children who spend time learning in natural environments “perform better in reading, mathematics, science and social studies.”(1 / Kings College, London. April 2011. Understanding the diverse benefits of learning in natural environments) Exploring the natural world “makes other school subjects rich and relevant and gets apathetic students excited about learning.” [...] Fieldwork in the countryside, a British study finds, improves long-term memory(2 / Stuart Nundy, 2001. Raising achievement through the environment: the case for fieldwork and field centres). Dozens of papers report sharp improvements in attention when children are exposed to wildlife and the great outdoors(3). Teenaged girls taken on a three-week canoeing trip in the US remained, even 18 months later, more determined, more prepared to speak out and show leadership and more inclined to challenge conventional notions of femininity(3 / William Bird, 2007. Natural Thinking: investigating the links between the natural environment, biodiversity and mental health). [...] Studies of the programmes run by the Wilderness Foundation UK, which takes troubled teenagers into the mountains, found that their self-control, self-awareness and behaviour all improved(4,5,6). Ofsted, the schools inspection service, reports that getting children out of the classroom raises “standards, motivation, personal development and behaviour.”(7 / Ofsted, 2nd October 2008. Learning outside the classroom: How far should you go?)
New Horizons III – The Largest Ever Research on Youth and Student Travel
(World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation)
"Young travellers are putting more emphasis on gaining cultural, educational and work experience, as well as improving their education and work prospects rather than simply travelling to have a holiday."
Have black Americans REALLY traveled until they’ve visited Africa?
(Urban Travel Girl)
"It's a horribly painful part of American history, but as black folks, it's ours. And it's important for us to own it—and in the process, make that reconnection to the continent that often feels far away and foreign to many of us. Which brings me back to my original point: Can we black Americans really feel well-traveled if we've never set foot on African soil? I’m starting to think 'NO.'"
Dr. Greg Carr on American History TV / Black Movements and Memory
VIDEO: "Professor Greg Carr, chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies at Howard University, presented a class lecture on slavery in the U.S. in the international context. He focused on maroonage (flight from owners followed by banding together to establishment independent communities in remote ares) as a dimension of African resistance, migrations, and movement in African-American history and the cultural meaning in U.S. history"
First Lady Michelle Obama Promotes Study Abroad, Praises Howard as a Leader
"Mrs. Obama underscored a special emphasis on increasing the number of cultural and educational exchanges of students at Hispanic Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities like Howard. 'Visits like these provide an important opportunity to strengthen ties, and to deepen bonds of understanding between our countries and our leaders,' Mrs. Obama said. 'But as you all know, that work doesn’t just happen at the White House or within the walls of the U.N. It isn’t just about relationships between our governments and our presidents. It’s also about relationships between our people -- between our business leaders, and our scientists, our educators, and particularly between our young people.'"
Teach the Books, Touch the Heart
(New York Times)
"There is a positive correlation between how much time students spend reading and higher scores. The problem is that low-income students, who begin school with a less-developed vocabulary and are less able to comprehend complex sentences than their more privileged peers, are also less likely to read at home. Many will read only during class time, with a teacher supporting their effort. But those are the same students who are more likely to lose out on literary reading in class in favor of extra test prep. By "using data to inform instruction," as the Department of Education insists we do, we are sorting lower-achieving students into classes that provide less cultural capital than their already more successful peers receive in their more literary classes and depriving students who viscerally understand the violence and despair in Steinbeck’s novels of the opportunity to read them. It is ironic, then, that English Language Arts exams are designed for “cultural neutrality.” This is supposed to give students a level playing field on the exams, but what it does is bleed our English classes dry. [...] We should abandon altogether the multiple-choice tests, which are in vogue not because they are an effective tool for judging teachers or students but because they are an efficient means of producing data. Instead, we should move toward extensive written exams, in which students could grapple with literary passages and books they have read in class, along with assessments of students’ reports and projects from throughout the year. This kind of system would be less objective and probably more time-consuming for administrators, but it would also free teachers from endless test preparation and let students focus on real learning. We cannot enrich the minds of our students by testing them on texts that purposely ignore their hearts. By doing so, we are withholding from our neediest students any reason to read at all. We are teaching them that words do not dazzle but confound. We may succeed in raising test scores by relying on these methods, but we will fail to teach them that reading can be transformative and that it belongs to them."
The Joy of Quiet
(New York Times)
"About a year ago, I flew to Singapore to join the writer Malcolm Gladwell, the fashion designer Marc Ecko and the graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister in addressing a group of advertising people on “Marketing to the Child of Tomorrow.” Soon after I arrived, the chief executive of the agency that had invited us took me aside. What he was most interested in, he began — I braced myself for mention of some next-generation stealth campaign — was stillness." [...] "A series of tests in recent years has shown, Mr. Carr points out, that after spending time in quiet rural settings, subjects “exhibit greater attentiveness, stronger memory and generally improved cognition. Their brains become both calmer and sharper.” More than that, empathy, as well as deep thought, depends (as neuroscientists like Antonio Damasio have found) on neural processes that are “inherently slow.” The very ones our high-speed lives have little time for." [...] "It’s only by having some distance from the world that you can see it whole, and understand what you should be doing with it."
United African Alliance Community Center: An African Renaissance
(The Liberator Magazine)
"Today the organization serves a community of more than 200 people. The single room dwelling that once served as their home has since been turned into a recording studio for local artists. In addition, the UAACC houses a dining hall, dormitory, classrooms, art studio, and computer lab where various English, art, and computer classes are taught all free of charge. Aside from its various cultural and community events, the Center completed a major community water project, providing a continuous supply of fresh water to the surrounding community. The Center also facilitates student exchanges between Tanzanian and American university and high school students."
Foreign-student exchange program revamped after abuses exposed
"'In recent years, the work component has too often overshadowed the core cultural component necessary for the Summer Work Travel Program to be consistent with the intent of the Fulbright-Hays Act,' the State Department said in announcing the new rules."
Education Nation Chicago Teacher Town Hall
"Sunday, Chicago's Pioneer Plaza played home to 'Education Nation,' a forum on the state of learning in the United States. The program featured a 'Teacher Town Hall,' a heated discussion on students, teachers, and the school environment itself, with a goal of trying to come up with ways to make things better."
(Photos via Kasoro.com, Habesha Inc., & Bro/Sis)
THE AFRICANA STUDY ABROAD ALLIANCE
Brotherhood-SisterSol: New York (International Study Program: 4-week study abroad to Morocco, South Africa, Mexico, Egypt, Ghana, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Brazil)
Program Name: Brotherhood Sister-Sol
HQ: New York City.
Description: Founded in 1995, The Brotherhood/Sister Sol (Bro/Sis) provides comprehensive, holistic and long term support services and study abroad programs for youth who range in age 8-22. Bro/Sis offers wrap around evidence-based programming.
Destination: Accra, Ghana.
Updates: Made a verbal agreement to join ASAA's collective publishing project with The Liberator Magazine. Members of the International Study Program toured Independence Square (pictured), W.E.B. Du Bois Centre, Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, and walked through historic Jamestown in Accra, Ghana.
Habesha: Atlanta (Black To Our Roots: 4-week study abroad to Ghana and Ethiopia)
Program Name: Habesha, Inc.: Black To Our Roots
Fundraising: $4,000 per student (1 month trip).
Description: Black To Our Roots is a year-long youth leadership and rites of passage program that promotes African cultural values through media production, community service, and fundraising; providing high schoolers with the tools to become active participants in the unity and development of in their local communities and the global African community. The program culminates in a 4-week travel study to Africa during the summer in which students apply their learning to community service projects, while exchanging ideas with African youth.
Destinations: Ghana and Ethiopia.
Updates: Made a verbal agreement to join ASAA's collective publishing project with The Liberator Magazine. Student travelers will present their reflections from their "Journey of Self-Discovery" at an Akwaaba party -- a welcome home community affair, in late September.
Afrikan Youth Alchemy: Baltimore (Independent Afrikan Minds: 4-week study abroad to Ghana)
Program Name: Afrikan Youth Alchemy (AYA)
Description: AYA is an African-centered Youth Development organization that engages in media production, cultural education, and community supported agriculture.
Updates: Made a verbal agreement to join ASAA's collective publishing project with The Liberator Magazine. In late May, AYA visited OYO Tunji Village in Shelton, South Carolina:USA to prepare for travel to Africa. They recently returned from a very productive journey to Ghana where they have begun construction of a youth educational media center and residential retreat. They planted over 40 fruit trees on their one-acre homestead and will be completing the mission soon.
Watch: Who Are You? (student film) weaves together interviews, skits, and experimental filming together as young people question why their peers know very little about African American history.
International Youth Leadership Institute: New York (International Study Program: Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Israel, Mexico, Morocco, Puerto Rico, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, St. Eustatius, and Tanzania)
Program Name: International Youth Leadership Institute (IYLI)
HQ: New York City.
Fundraising: $6,500 per student (students pay just $200).
Description: IYLI has conducted overseas programs in 16 Latin American and African countries. IYLI’s international study programs support individual and collective leadership development experiences through hands-on experiences in Africa and Latin America. IYLI offers 4-week summer programs and a 10-day winter program in the Caribbean and Latin America (for IYLI Fellows only). Building on the research and analytical skills they’ve fostered year-round, IYLI Fellows are immersed in town or village life and study the history, culture, geography and environment of the host community, including gender role relationships, and economic and employment patterns. Under a new mission -- to nurture visionaries from the African Diaspora inspired by their rich African heritage to leave a world legacy -- adopted as of September 2014 and the ASAA/IYLI partnership, work that students do will be the vehicle for their development; raising the bar on portfolio assignments, in order to strive for eloquent, professional publications that will earn high school, and perhaps even fund college credit.
Full Scholarship available to study in Senegal (attn: High School-age Young Men) for high school-age young men, aged 13 to 19-years old. I've attended several youth workshop meetings they've held at Teachers College Columbia U and highly recommend this opportunity.
Destinations: Dominican Republic (Winter 2014); Senegal (Summer 2014); Jamaica (2015); Morocco/Spain (2015).
Highlights: The Liberator Magazine has accepted a piece by IYLI's Oreoluwa Oloruntoba -- now a college student -- which features profound reflections from his trip to Goree, Island. The piece will be published alongside other Alliance student submissions for the inaugural, student-led Africana study abroad publishing project, crafted within The Liberator's story production ecosystems.
Updates: Made a verbal agreement to join ASAA's collective publishing project with The Liberator Magazine.
In Depth: IYLI Fellows traveled to the Dominican Republic on February 14 under the Winter Institute theme, "What is race?" During the eight-day program, the group met with Peace Corps volunteers and attended a briefing at Batey, a non-governmental organization serving Haitian workers in the Dominican Republic. The group investigated the three cultural foundations of the country- Africa, Spain and Taino through visits to the colonial zone, Taino caves and wall drawings, and the program curriculum. Visits were conducted to Santo Domingo, La Romana, and San Pedro de Macoris. The Summer Fellowship Program was held in Senegal, July 18-August 20, 2014. Six U.S. and six Senegalese students participated. IYLI volunteers were Jason Higgins, Yasemin Mangroo, Ajani Clunie, Michael Webb, and Anasa Scott. A language guide was provided to each student with selected vocabulary (presented phonetically). The course, taught by Columbia University Professor Ly, included one/two hours per day over a five-day period. Activities included meetings with Africare, Tostan, and KAYER (Kayor Energie Rurale), a U.S. Embassy briefing, seminars, hands-on science activities, research projects, book circles, Micro-Credit workshop, and a Rural Sociology class at Cheikh Anta Diop University. Students participated in book circles based on The Other Wes Moore. The theme of the program was "Energy." Following a week in Dakar, students traveled to Mboudiene, Thies, Mbackombel Eco-Village, Saint Louis and Ngaye Mekhe. Students participated in Wolof language study prior to departure. The SFP was documented on video by Ajani Clunie and Gilbert Roman. A blog site was set up and maintained throughout the program to provide program images and update. The Brazil SFP was cancelled. Only 3 students applied and the program would not be cost-effective. For the second consecutive year, the SFP included an equal number of U.S. and Senegalese students. This format enriched the experience for both groups. In response to the question, "What would you have liked to include that was not included?" students asked for: a clear guide on where to get food and for how much (culinary guide or cookbook); to learned more about culture; to sleepover for at least 3 days with a Senegalese counterpart in a host home before starting work; for more site visits. General feedback included: for knowing the culture we have to live in Senegalese houses; book circles were very important. IYLI and Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) El Barrio Firehouse Community Media Center partnered to produce several short videos documenting the experiences of the 12 US and Senegalese students that will be aired on the network. Gilbert Roman, youth producer at MNN, received a full scholarship from IYLI to participate in the Senegal trip and help produce the videos. Seminar participation averaged 14 students. 4 Fellows ended the year in distinguished good standing with 3 receiving cash awards of $500 and one receiving a $500 scholarship. 3 students represented IYLI at the 4th International Young Leaders Assembly, "Moral And Innovative Leadership: Vision, Service and Entrepreneurship" at the United Nations, August 19. And an alumnus was appointed as the youth delegate to the United Nations by IYLI partner Metropolitan New York Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolence.
Videos: (1) Yemane in Senegal (via DropBox); (2) Eco Village in Senegal.
Sankofa Freedom Academy: Philadelphia (International Service Program: Ghana)
Program Name: Sankofa Freedom Academy: International Service Project Ambassadors
Description: The International Service Project Ambassadors program is the student traveling arm of the Sankofa Freedom Academy, a college preparatory, K-12 Freedom School that serves students of Philadelphia who aspire to responsible leadership roles in their chosen professions and communities. Building on the Philadelphia Freedom School (PFS) model, SFA is a public charter school that creates and sustains a teaching-learning environment that is culturally relevant and decidedly communal in its educational approach.
Destinations: Goree Island, Senegal.
Updates: Made a verbal agreement to join ASAA's collective publishing project with The Liberator Magazine.
Atlantic Impact: Detroit (International Travel Program: Barbados, Canada, and United Kingdom)
Program Name: Atlantic Impact
Description: Atlantic Impact increases opportunity in persistently low-achieving schools by using history, community engagement, and international travel. Through experiential learning and student-led opportunities, youth develop college-ready skills that empower them to become the next generation of urban innovators.
Highlights: Bajan pepper sauce anyone (pictured)?! From top to bottom the shelves were full of so many choices. Atlantic Impact kids ended up having a liking for traditional Bajan pepper sauce.
Updates: Made a verbal agreement to join ASAA's collective publishing project with The Liberator Magazine.
In Depth: The program structure called for students to be paired one-on-one with a mentor and explore the heritage and nature of the island for the first several days. Equipped with a better understanding of the past, the last several days were devoted to the state of Barbados today, and in future, through shadowing local businesses and learning from young entrepreneurs about the culture and economy of Barbados. The group went on to tour various parishes in Barbados to explore the effects of the country becoming a powerhouse in the sugar industry, led by Miguel Pena of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society. The Freedom Footprints slave route heritage tour, created in collaboration with UNESCO, was designed to inspire people by educating the public about the role the slave trade has played in Barbados. Outdoors in Bridgetown at Independence Square students continued discussing the Freedom Footprints tour and reflecting on the similarities and globally shared history between the United States, Caribbean, and beyond, and what freedom means to each individual. In conversation with their mentors, students found deeper meaning in their Barbados experiences and their lives. Exploring the country’s history and thinking on a local and global scale, as well as using history as a source of inspiration and empowerment, those first days served as a scaffold to experiences with the Caribbean Centre of Excellence for Youth Entrepreneurship. Students participated in active and engaging workshops focusing on entrepreneurial skills, mindset, behavior, and strengthening creativity, with discussions and activities led by Ashley John and Karlene Gordon. Each student was then paired with a local youth business to shadow, learning how they started and operate and gaining unique perspective into everyday Bajan life. At other times, students worked on their group projects through PowerPoint or participated in and conducted interviews in person and through Google hangouts. They loved living one minute from the Caribbean Sea and getting to the beach every day: riding waves, learning how to float, searching for sea creatures along the shore. Barbadian teacher Michael Hinds, who engaged with students several times throughout their trip, commented on the level of adaptability students had during their time in Barbados, "I was really impressed by the students and how open-minded they are." In Speightstown, students attended an outdoor session held at the Esplanade. Hosted by the Barbados and the Carolinas Legacy Foundation, a panel of experts provided a background for the beginning of Barbados as we know it today. Among the speakers were: Rhoda Green; Frederick Alleyne; Ramona La Roche (from Africana Lowcountry Genealogy, member of the Gullah Geechee community, Afro-American Studies graduate student at University of South Carolina); and Mela Berger (director & health practitioner at Caribbean Institute of Healing and Cultural Arts). In Holetown, they explored the St. James Parish Church and the monument marking the first landing of English settlers to Barbados. Upon returning home, Youth Mentor Chasity Cooper from Washington, DC said, "While home hasn't changed, my perspective has." Another mentor Kaara Baptiste from New York said, "It has been a really powerful experience." Student Lerrell was excited to learn that breadfruit is grown in Barbados and commonly fed to the formerly enslaved. He also shared, "Barbados put me in a calmer state of mind and it was very nice to get away from Detroit and everyday life ... It was interesting to learn that there is a lot of history between Barbados and places like Britain and South Carolina." The last major exploration was a calming nature hike along the coast in St. Philip, with ocean waves crashing in the background, led by Mela Berger who also discussed the benefits of being in touch with the self, especially emotionally. Student Jayvon said the discussion provided him with ideas about how to obtain inner peace and control outrage, "It made me feel like a better person and it made me feel enlightened." For him, shadowing baker Shawna Rollins’ business Delicious Treats was among the most valuable experiences, "her dedication, her hard work, and her ambition."
Videos: (1) Thoughts From a First-Time Traveler (Paunai Chapman); (2) Atlantic Impact youth featured on 92.9 FM Voice of Barbados; (3) Detroit to Barbados Atlantic Impact The Skychi Travel Guide Live; (4) Workshop on Family History, Panelist Introductions; (5) Rhoda Green of the Barbados and the Carolinas Legacy Foundation talks about fluidity and the strong interest among people living in North Carolina and South Carolina to preserve the historical connections between the Carolinas and Barbados; (6) Frederick Alleyne on the Barbados/Brazil/Guyana Connection; (7)Grateful: Similarity Between History of Barbados and Detroit; (8) Exploring Barbados nature and climbing rocks; (9) Kenneth shadows Nadaline Cummings' electronic-waste management company in Barbados; (10) Riding a public transit (yellow) bus to Holetown, Barbados.
Sankofa Spirit: Atlanta (Passport To Adventure: Ghana, Africa, South/Central America, Caribbean, and Europe)
Program Name: Sankofa Spirit: Passport 2 Adventure
Description: Passport to Adventure is an educational travel program for youth to discover the cultural connections between Africa and the Diaspora, through classroom instruction and a study tour to see the cultural connection firsthand.
Updates: Made a verbal agreement to join ASAA's collective publishing project with The Liberator Magazine. Invited The Liberator Magazine to help foster weekend classroom study in order to prepare for the next trip to Ghana.
Leadership Excellence: Oakland (Camp Alkebulan: 3-week trip to West Africa for 18-21 year-olds; Camp Akili: 5-day rural retreat for 14-17 year-olds)
United African Alliance Community Center (International Exchange Program: Arusha, Tanzania)
The Liberator Magazine (Living From Planet Earth: Jamaica and Kenya / Diaspora Publication distributed in 11 countries & 9 U.S. cities)
Destinations: Jamaica and Kenya.
Book Publications: The Last Generation of Black People distributed at (New York: Artbook @ MoMA PS1, BookCourt, McNally Jackson Books, and Strand Bookstore); (Los Angeles: Eso Won Books); (Chicago: Quimby's Bookstore); (Atlanta: Medu Bookstore, Moods Music, and Nubian Bookstore); (District of Columbia: Sankofa Video & Bookstore); (Florida: African Extravaganza and Mojo Books & Records); (Texas: Pan-African Connection); (Minnesota: Ancestry Books, Common Good Books, Subtext Books, and Mayday Books); (Tennessee: The African Place)
The Institute for Urban and Minority Education at Columbia University Teachers College
Victoria University Uganda
Uganda Tourism Board
South Sudan Ministry of Education
Good Journey Inc.
Program Name: Good Journey Inc.
HQ: St. Louis.
Description: Good Journey's mission is to support and build sustainable communities and young leaders ages 8-25 who take responsibility for the improvement of their communities, and promote cultural understanding that contributes to the betterment of society.
Destination: South Africa.
Updates: Four students -- Haile, 11; Mariama, 12; Elijah, 13 and Malaika, 13 -- will be traveling to South Africa (Kruger National Park, Soweto, Johannesburg, Robben Island and Cape Town) from October 24th to November 5th.
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