|Friday, November 3rd
Kevin Hallinan, University of Dayton
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Many universities in the industrialized world have supported international development through research and student immersions, premised on the bias that students must go to another country to understand community needs. While it is certain that these experiences have been life-changing for such students, there are criticisms. For example, some argue that the work done by students/faculty abroad can reinforce power imbalances from both perspectives. Additionally, the sustainability of student-developed projects, which rarely come with long term monitoring and funding/training for operation and maintenance, is a grave concern.
We simply cannot view our students’ international experiences as only rich learning experiences. We need to leverage the knowledge, skills, experience, and time of students (and faculty) to enable scalable long-term impact. Can our work find a home not just in one community, but many?
A better strategy, we believe, is to support through long duration projects partner organizations which are already known by the communities they are in and which have already demonstrated the ability to scale. Such partners will already know the culture, regulations, and needs of the community and can communicate these to the students and faculty. Additionally, since they have already demonstrated success in reaching people with solutions; thus there is greater likelihood that the work we do to support them can yield scalable impact which can properly be monitored and maintained. Third, the work we would do would be ‘invisible’ to the communities benefiting; instead, the partner, which almost certainly would rely upon local talent for the work, would be seen as the action agent.
In this framework, we envision projects driven by technological needs defined by the scalable partners which might help them reach more people and by complementary technologies being developed by students/faculty which might enhance the scalability of partners.
Alieu Nyassi, Operation Crossroads Africa
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Black/African Americans have been disconnected from their African ancestry for centuries. This presentation examines how prominent an African American Minister, Dr. James H. Robinson, founded Operation Crossroads Africa, the organization President John F Kennedy modeled to start the US Peace Corps program. Operation Crossroads Africa Founded in 1958 continues to connect and build bridges between North America and Africa. Dr. Robinson’s goal is to complement and help the new African nations build infrastructure and improve education. Over the years, OCA volunteers built water systems, healthcare centers, schools, orphanages and communities centers for villages throughout Africa. Our aim is to share the continuous impact of over ten thousand OCA volunteers who participated in various parts and projects in Africa since 1958, explore the benefits and the need for more students to join us as there is a much need today than ever.