This summer, Kwantlen Criminology professor Dr. Joan Nesbitt, and two of her colleagues, Dr. Farhad Dastur, and Jessie Horner went to the East African country of Kenya to learn about bringing field schools to the region.
The purpose of the trip, she told the Kwantlen Chronicle was to "look at the feasibility of setting up international field schools there."
Part of the grant that paid for the trip required a community dialogue session back home in Canada. Thus Hello, Africa! was born. It is an initiative that encourages interaction and sharing of resources between differing communities and Africa is the focal point in this specific instance.
The Kwantlen Chronicle reports that Joan and her colleagues are in the very early stages of setting up international field schools in Kenya.
As part of International Education Week, Joan Nesbitt and one of her colleagues Jessie Horner, organized, Hello, Africa! International Education, Global Citizenship and Capacity Building, a one-day gala that was described by the organizers as "an evening of African wisdom,culture, song, dance,crafts and food."
There was also a keynote address by University of British Columbia Sociology Professor Kogila Moodley who spoke on the theme: "Gandhi & Mandela: Reconciliation in Divided Societies.”
Gibril Koroma recently spoke to Dr. Joan Nesbitt. Excerpts:
Gibril Koroma: Why did Kwantlen organize the event and who are the people behind it?
Joan Nesbitt: The genesis of this event was twofold. First, in conjunction with my colleague, Jessie Horner, we had co-written a " 6 Faculty Development Grant" application and received funding to go to Kenya this past summer to explore the feasibility of setting up field schools with several "partner" universities there. Our Associate Dean of Social Sciences, Dr. Farhad Dastur, also accompanied us on this trip. Part of our grant application was to create a "community dialogue" upon our return home. Thus, this was the initial birth of this event. Concomittantly, "International Education Week" appeared on the horizon, so we decided to use our event as the gala launch for this. The faculty involved in this event were myself, Jessie Horner (Criminology), Dr. Charles Quist-Adade (Sociology), Dr. Wendy Royal (English Language Studies). In addition to the above, Dr. Farhad Dastur (Associate Dean of Social Sciences) and Sandra Schinnerl (Director, International Programmes and Exchanges) were also involved.
GK: Was the event a success? What happened?
JN: Yes, absolutely! In short, it was an evening of African words, wisdom, song, dance, culture, crafts, food, drink, drumming, and dancing.
One of the participants, the poet Juliane Okot Bitek commented:
"Last night was especially amazing and I want to take the opportunity to thank you for inviting me to be a part of it. The food, music and presentation as well as the spirit that was in the C Auditorium was particularly electric, supportive and engaging. It was a warm place to be, and if anyone had any doubt, there was the ultimate proof of Africa in Surrey, BC. Please pass my best egards and thanks to your fellow organizers."
GK: Do you have similar events lined up this year or next year?
JN: I don't, but I believe (Kwantlen Sociology professor) Charles has something looming on the horizon in about a week's time. I believe it is a fundraiser for his field school in Ghana.