Sunday, April 26, 2009


Heading to the airport in a couple of hours to hop on a plane to Amsterdam, and flying from there to Accra, Ghana. Will be in Ghana for a week with a privately-funded, seven-member community delegation from Charlottesville to explore development of exchanges (youth exchanges, academic exchanges, cultural/arts exchanges, business exchanges, etc.) between Charlottesville and the university community of Winneba. Couldn't be more excited, both for me personally (my first trip to Africa) and for the people of Charlottesville and Winneba, who as a result of this trip will hopefully enjoy many opportunities for cross-cultural collaboration and travel in the years to come.

Among others, we'll be meeting this week with city leaders, traditional/tribal leaders, business leaders, university leaders, Winneba's Member of Parliament, the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana (a UVa alum), and the leadership of the Africa Global Sister Cities Foundation, which is based in Accra and just this past week received a $7.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help 25 U.S. cities to develop community-improvement partnerships with municipalities in Africa (fortuitous timing, anyone?). We'll also visit a number of historical sites and natural landmarks and partake in one of Ghana's largest annual cultural festivals, which takes place next weekend in Winneba.

I'm not sure which is going to require more of an adjustment, being in Africa for the first time in my life or not having regular access to phone calls or e-mails for the next week. Both, I suspect, will be equally enjoyable. :-) See you when I return.

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