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Blue Devil of the Week: Nurturing a Culture of Collaboration

Name: Ed Balleisen Title: Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies, Professor of History and Public Policy Years at Duke: 21 What he does: While a focus on interdisciplinary studies has been a part of Duke’s strategic direction for a few decades, Balleisen stresses the impulse to span areas of study in search of answers to complex questions is something that occurs organically at Duke. Go in any school or department, he says, and you’ll find teachers and students whose curiosity and focus on big problems often leads them beyond the boundaries of their particular field, and often into intellectual partnerships with others from other disciplines. It’s Balleisen’s job to nurture that part of campus culture. As the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies, a position he’s held since 2015, he’s helped guide the campus entities that have drawn on expertise from multiple schools and overseen the growth of the Bass Connections program, which teams students with faculty to pursue interdisci..

Africa: Food Security – Nurturing a New Culture of Contradictions

analysisA first-ever national seed dialogue in South Africa strengthens the push-back against the bulging muscles of corporate and state control over seed and food production. UFRIEDA HO reports. There are seven giant seed and agro-chemical companies in the world, millions of smallholder farmers locked into buying from this monopoly, and billions of us, dependent on the food farmers grow. It adds up to a skewed global food production system that's mirrored in South Africa. Local activists and a growing voice of small-scale farmers say the continued industrialisation and commercialisation of the seed system threatens bio-diversity, food security and indigenous knowledge. It also widens inequality gaps and leaves the world with damning contradictions of food surpluses and wastage alongside starvation and malnutrition. They are calling for a revision of the system, taking aim in particular at two pieces of legislations that govern plant breeders' rights and plant improvement tha..

A new momentum in protecting Malian cultural heritage

Since October 2013, UNESCO has trained 4000 military workforces deployed in Mali. In 2016 and for the first time since the 2012 crisis, this awareness-raising activity expanded to the Malian armed forces and security forces to discuss and promote their role in the protection of cultural heritage and the integration of this issue in national intervention protocols and military strategies. To insure the sustainability of previous capacity building actions, UNESCO national office in Mali, organized a training workshop in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and MINUSMA on 25-27 October 2017 at à l’Ecole de Maintien de la Paix in Bamako. In addition to developing new modules, the training will expand to national security forces. The need to train and inform them remains a priority in order to protect cultural heritage from destruction, illicit excavation, looting but also smuggling during armed conflict. Thanks to the Government of Switzerland, which supports the implementation of th..

Bengaluru's window to Africa

Over a dozen young African girls, flaunted their beauty and talent in the Miss Africa Bangalore beauty contest which was held in Banaswadi recently. Organised by One Team Africa, an organisation that aims to bring all Africans in Bengaluru together, the contest is the first of its kind in the city. Contestants, who were mostly students, walked the ramp with different attires including traditional wear, which showed the diversity of the African continent. Speaking about the objective behind this initiative, Deborah Mbathe, one of the organisers said, "Africa is mistaken to be a country. Seldom do people understand the fact that it is a continent with about 54 countries. Africans in Bangalore are from different nations with different traditions and culture. Hence, this is an effort to provide them an opportunity to get together, showcase their talents and represent their countries as well." Eleven contestants qualified for the final round after a number of challenges. The first one was c..

3 Hairstylists On Braids, Cultural Appropriation and Media's Erasure of Black Women

"When other cultures are respected and acknowledged for their traditions and we aren't, it becomes a deeper issue that needs to be spoken about."Bantu knots. Cornrows. Box braids. Whatever you've known them as, the vast family of braided hairstyles has been around far longer than beauty trends, hashtags and Kardashians. For some of us, braids bring back nostalgic memories of intimacy, family and self-identity through artistic expression. However, over the past few years, traditionally Black, braided hairstyles — specifically on other races — have hit a mainstream nerve, evoking an uncomfortable, ever-present question for those both within and outside the African Diaspora: Is this cultural appropriation? While the conversation isn't an easy one to have, it is necessary given the media's all-too-often problematic regard for (or neglect of) Black hair. "Braids started in Africa and can be traced back to Egypt as far as 3500 BC. Braiding is also a way to maintain our h..

Nation mourns loss of a prolific poet

Johannesburg – President Jacob Zuma has expressed his sadness at the death of revered poet, Professor Keorapetse "Bra Willie" Kgositsile, who died on Wednesday morning after a short illness. "Today our country mourns the sad passing of one of the giants of our liberation struggle, who was renowned for his accomplishment as well in the education, arts and culture sectors. "He was highly regarded even beyond the borders of our country and was a celebrated arts intellectual in the continent. We extend our deepest condolences to the family. May his soul rest in peace," Zuma said in a statement. Also read: National Poet Laureate and political activist dead at 79 It is with great sadness that we have learnt of Prof. Keorapetse Kgositsile's passing. He was with us just the other day at Abantu Book Festival & his event -which was his last ever- was one of those the audience wished would never end. RIP National Poet Laureate. — Abantu Book Festival..

Success can be measured in the number of international airport connections served by multistop...

As an overseer of all security for U.N. peacekeeping missions around the world, Ken Payumo must make at least one stop each year in seven sub-Saharan African countries, from Liberia to South Sudan. When booking flights, he has several choices — none of them pretty. To fly to the Central African Republic from Chad — neighboring countries — Payumo has to pick up a flight from Chad’s capital N’Djamena to Paris, then from Paris to Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic. Sometimes, Royal Air Maroc comes through with just a layover in Casablanca. But once in-country and ready to return to the U.S., it’s a “hodgepodge” of options, according to Payumo: Air Maroc again from Bangui to Casablanca to Paris, before he can fly into JFK. Or a two-stop flight to Newark, New Jersey, on Ethiopian Air for $1,300 — if he’s lucky. That may finally change. Encouraged by the International Air Transport Association and the African Union, executives of African airlines are gaining ground against the r..

Travelogue: What to expect when moving from South Africa to London

Image Credits: In October 2016, I moved from sunny South Africa to the wonderful winter that only the United Kingdom can be well known for! I joined my wonderful boyfriend (FYI – he is from SA too!) and adjusted to the change – and have never looked back! The next points will only be based on my experience in the UK thus far (for now!). The Cold Climate MythDon’t get me wrong, the blazing hot sun and warm temperatures certainly do wonders for a person! But, if your biggest concern that you have when emigrating is the weather, I am sure you can find an article about emigrating to the Bahamas in the summer somewhere on the web! Yes, it rains. Yes, it is overcast a lot of the time and yes, the temperature drops are quite drastic – but (and this is a big BUT) – Don’t be fooled by the image portrayed of the UK weather that you see on TV and in films. With that being said, the weather is easy to adapt to. The buildings are designed with insulation and almost everywhere you go ther..

Ethiopia: Addis in the Eyes of African Youth Visitors

By Leulseged WorkuPeace and security are the major challenges of Africa. When there is peace and security there is prosperity. In this regard, the youth will be direct beneficiaries form the economy. More job opportunity will be created and they will in turn support their community. The role of youth to speed up the socio economic and political life of a society is inevitable. This is especially true for the growing economy of Africa where the majority of the population is young. Lately, the 15th YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative) Connect Camp, that aspire to invest in the next generation of African leaders through training in facilitating leadership, mentorship, networking and professional envelopment opportunities for social change was successfully concluded here in Addis Ababa, at the Embassy of the United States of America. On which seventeen young African leaders who came from Burundi, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda and South Sudan were attended..

Re-bonding through business, culture, history: Developing story of Turkey's ties with Africa

Turkish footprints in Africa may be hard to trace in history, but their future is easier to guess because both sides are willing to improve political and economic relations as repetitively stressed during President Erdoğan's recent visit to the continentTurkey's centuries-old rapport with Africa has once again been cherished with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to Sudan, Chad and Tunisia. Resulting in 33 agreements in total, last week's trip emphasized Turkey's determination to reinforce its ties with the country via an approach that attains the status of partnership with both sides. The iterative call on Turkish investors to expand their operations in Africa aims to both boost bilateral economic ties and capitalize on the common cultural heritage that has formed a brotherly friendship between Turkey and Africa, as Turkish businesspeople emphasized. It has been more than 500 years since the continent of Africa saw the first Turkish conquest when the Turk..

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