WorldCanvass: African December

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WorldCanvass received a few interesting things to broadcast for the holidays this year: a talking drum, internet in a box and a childrens’ book about HIV/AIDS. This can only mean one thing: a trip to Africa!

The new International Programs public programming initiative explores topics that are international in scope and central to our understanding of ourselves as part of the global landscape.

On Friday, December 11, 2009, host Joan Kjaer dove into fascinating subjects surrounding Africa. Guest Cliff Missen, Director of the University of Iowa’s WiderNet Project, introduced the WiderNet and eGranary Digital Library, essentially Internet in a box. This project refurbishes old, donated computers and sends them off to remote locations along with a small box which holds a snapshot of the Internet.

Missen told a story of assembling the eGranary on a particular day at a school in Africa, and, wanting to quickly check to see if it worked, he turned it on at 5 p.m. for a test. He ended up not leaving until nearly 1 a.m. as the children gathered around for over 7 hours with mile-wide smiles, some even breaking into dance as they took in this new avenue of accessing information.

Following his discussion about the eGranary Digital Library, Cliff Missen and friends, together called the Yahoo Drummers, entertained the audience with a performance using traditional African instruments.

Next, guests Rex Honey, Emily Lewis and Denise Timmins discussed issues surrounding child trafficking both in America and abroad. Emily Lewis is a graduate student who worked in Cameroon this summer for the Global Welfare Association (GLOWA).

Christopher Roy discussed his experiences in Africa and the unique perspectives of African life and culture that one can take in from art. He also discussed the UI Museum’s Stanley Collection of African art.

In the same panel discussion, Leo Eko spoke about his experiences doing documentaries and journalistic work in and about Africa. Sunday Goshit also reflected on the similarities and differences between life in his home country of Nigeria and here in the States

The program concluded with a reading of “The Forbidden Fru Fru Fruits Epidemic”by Alan Brody. Formerly of UNICEF, Brody read this fable that he wrote for use in Swaziland Sunday Schools to provide teachers with a comfortable way to bring up the issues of HIV and AIDS for discussion with children

The audio content is available at the Public Radio Exchange, an online marketplace for public radio programs.

WorldCanvass, a production of International Programs at the University of Iowa, is produced one Friday a month, from 5-7 p.m., in the beautiful Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol Building on the campus of the University of Iowa. We’d like to thank our partners: the University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums, KRUI and UITV.

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