Jeanne Siler¬†will be the¬†director of the Writing Center on the Fall 2013: 50th Anniversary voyage.
You may only know Africa as a monolithic continent, famous for safaris, land of lions and giraffes, but waiting in Winneba, a university town in Ghana, on the west African coast, is your chance to meet and be welcomed by 21st century Africans themselves. University students, city leaders, school children: all are looking forward to meeting you, too, when Semester at Sea returns to Ghana in October.
Semester at Sea‚Äôs academic host is the University of Virginia, located in Charlottesville, Virginia. Winneba and Charlottesville are sister cities, and have shared a vibrant exchange of ideas and travelers since 2009.
I have been interested in visiting Ghana ever since the sister city connection was established. As the director of the Writing Center on this fall‚Äôs voyage I have that chance. I will be leading an overnight trip to Winneba that begins with a lunch on the MV Explorer with some of our hosts for the two-day visit, followed by a bus trip to Winneba and a string of planned activities for the evening, including welcome ceremonies to this city historically known for its music, fishing and pottery traditions.
The next morning I hope to take several interested students with me to a writing workshop with city residents, planned by Sister City Commission members as part of a push for expanded reading and writing efforts, city-wide.
Charlottesville‚Äôs connections to UVA ‚Äì and thus, SAS ‚Äì allow us to become partners with the University of Ghana‚Äôs College of Education in Winneba, one of five campuses in Ghana, this one responsible for the training of all elementary and high school teachers in the country.¬† Also, all grade school Guidance Counselors and Special Education teachers are trained here.
My plans also call for other SAS students to travel with our hosts to one or two elementary school classrooms for an introduction to a ‚ÄúBig Read‚Äù style event, where the students are provided with a new copy of the American classic Goodnight Moon, and the chance to read it together, and talk about the importance of reading as a habit and as a hobby.
We will also assist with a book donation drop-off from Charlottesville public library system and leftovers from the Semester at Sea‚Äôs summer voyagers.
Come with us and learn first-hand how an active member of Sister Cities International works.
Sister Cities International is a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network that creates and strengthens partnerships between U.S. and international communities. This network strives to build global cooperation at the municipal level, promote cultural understanding and stimulate economic development.
SISTER CITY OVERNIGHT IN WINNEBA
October 16 & 17
2 days, 1 overnight, 5 meals