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  Department of Africana and Latino Studies  
Learn and Serve in Ghana

In 2005 the ALS Department first offered a “Ghana: Learn & Serve” January Intersession course initiated by Dr. Kathleen O’Mara. It combined lectures from faculty at Ghanaian universities on oral literatures, film and T.V., and the history and culture of Ghana, including the effects of the European slave trade on West Africa in conjunction with community/village service.  Over several years our students helped to renovate a building to create and stock  a community library and raise funds for a clinic at Kwabeng, Eastern Region, 2005-10, and then to raise funds and help construct a village clinic in Quigbey, Volta Region in 2011.  A long  intersession in 2012 became an short term internship for eighteen students who worked at orphanages, a school, TV Africa, a police station, and NGOs delivering HIV outreach and community education. Rather than sticking to intersession offerings only, ALS shifted to a full semester course in 2013, Urban Ghana, which allowed students to learn and process material before going to Ghana; it highlighted urban life and culture with lectures /performance on traditional Asante music by the renowned Agya Koo Nimo, Ghallywood videos, and popular music, Hip Life, eclectic, etc. by Ghana’s famous Sherifa Gunu. The course did not require extra tuition fees.

Africana & Latino Studies, a field rooted in community service, is expanding our global competencies program, especially enlarging the number of internship offerings in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. In the past three years we have placed students in Accra, Tema, and Cape Coast, Ghana, Cairo, Egypt, and Freetown, Sierra Leone. We will continue this expansion with options in Liberia, South Africa and the Dominican Republic. Placement sites include NGOs—health, orphans, human rights, women’s empowerment—as well as schools, parliament, media/TV and film companies, and quasi-government agencies.

 

For information, contact: Dr. Kathleen O’Mara, Africana & Latino Studies Dept omarakk@oneonta.edu

 
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