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Students Reflect on Teach Africa Forum

On Monday, Nov 13, seventeen senior members of Oakland Catholic's Global Competence Initiative and the AP Human Geography class took part in the Teach Africa Forum at Duquesne University. The program was a joint effort of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, the Africa Society, and the Center for African Studies at Duquesne. Below are some reflections from Oakland Catholic students on the event.

"The World Affairs Council's Teach Africa Program enabled me to see Africa for what it is- a continent made up of many countries on the rise. Throughout the day, several of the event's speakers stressed the degree to which the media negatively influences the way Westerners perceive Africa....Though much of the continent was set back drastically as a direct result of European colonization, many African countries have bounced back and have major cities that are representative of the economic growth in Africa. During Lunch, a performer of a traditional African dance joked that if you go to Africa, you won't see a lion and you won't be in the jungle. You will see other people, and sights similar to those we are familiar with in American cities. The program also provided interesting information regarding the United States' relationship with Africa over the last few decades. While the relationship was seen as positive beginning with the Clinton administration and up through the Obama administration, little conversation has taken place thus far in the Trump administration to suggest that progressive relations will continue between the United States and Africa. Overall, the event was enlightening and provided information about the history of Africa, the culture in various African countries, and the importance of recognizing Africa as a legitimate player in the global economic and political sphere."

- Margaret Begg, '18

"The Teach Africa Youth Forum accomplished its goal of giving the attendees a more accurate perception of Africa. African countries are often portrayed in American media outlets as being places engulfed in what presenter Abdulai Jalloh called "The Three Ds"— Death, Disease, and Despair. That portrayal, however, is entirely inaccurate. Through the forum we learned about the governance, media, technology, and growing investment opportunities that allow many of the continent's 54 countries to prosper. Admittedly, my own view of Africa had always been full of the negativities presented by media, until I attended the forum. Each of the speakers shared their hope that our generation has the potential to begin a new era of shared global competence. By promoting awareness of the "true Africa," the Teach Africa Youth Forum continually inspires well-informed minds to make positive, lasting change."

- Kayley McDonald, '18