International Education Conference
Angela Jenkins and Grace Minter
Sandra Mitchell, Ed.D., Consultant
The August 4–18, 2006 itinerary of the 32nd International Education Conference included Iguassu Falls, Recife, and Bahia, Brazil. The historical Boa Morte Festival in Cachoeira guided planners in arriving at the dates for the conference. Thus, the conference that typically began in July was pushed back to August so that the group would have an opportunity to participate in the Boa Morte celebration, which began on Sunday, August 13. Conferees wore wear white for this religious occasion.
Two schedules were offered to conferees: full conference including post conference tours of Iguassu Falls and Recife and the regular conference in Bahia/Salvador from August 10 – 17. Workshops featured conferee presenters in addition to Brazilian professionals. Discussions were lively, though an interpreter had to be hired in order to accommodate to the language differences. In addition to the groups’ participation in the Boa Morte Festival march, NABSW conferees participated in a religious service at one of the local Condombles. A fuller description of this conference was featured in an article, developed by one of the conferees, was included in the NABSW October ’06 Newsletter.
One hundred and twenty-five (125) conferees participated in this conference; thirty (30) chose the basic conference, while ninety-five (95) opted for the full conference. Conferees from twenty-five states (25) were present; California has consistently had the largest number of conferees and while New York was second. This conference marked the culmination of the International Education Conference leadership team that had been in place since 1990. The out-going chairs opted to take on different roles within NABSW and will provide support to newly appointed conference chairs. They have expressed appreciation for the support they received over the past 17 years. They are commended for their outstanding management of the arduous, and unforeseen challenges the International Education Conference routinely presents to the committee chairs and conferees alike. In 2007, the newly appointed NABSW co-chairs will lead the 33rd International Education Conference to Ghana West Africa. Most recently NABSW made trips to Ghana in 1993 and 1998.
Formerly known as the Gold Coast, the Republic of Ghana is located in West Africa on the Gulf of Guinea with Togo to the East, Burkina Faso to the North, and The Ivory Coast to the West. In 1957, Ghana became the first African colony south of the Sahara to gain independence from the British. In addition to 2007 marking the 50TH anniversary of Ghana’s independence, it is also the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the abolition of the Atlantic Slave Trade.
Ghana is a country of diverse terrain, about the geographic size of Illinois and Indiana combined. While English is the official language, more than 25 languages are spoken in Ghana, including Akan, Dagbani, Ewe, Ga and Hausa. The conference will take place in Accra and Cape Coast/Elmina, with a visit to the nearby Aburi area. Conferees will experience a pilgrimage that includes unique Social Work educational experiences peculiar to Ghanaian cultural history, and enjoy the coastal scenery as they move by coach between Accra and Cape Coast .
Ghana’s Emancipation Day takes place every year and celebrates the freeing of slaves. This year it will also launch the Joseph Project; a strategy to “reconcile and unite African Peoples so that our positive spirit and strengths are released in a focused manner to elevate Africa and Africans worldwide.” NABSW conferees will retrace the route of the slave trade (slave lodges, slave forts, and slave castles), and finally will acknowledge that we have survived captivity and are examples of what man can achieve.