History and Culture Among Lessons at Brazil Travel Seminar

Aug 12, 2014

Students and Teacher Group Brazil TripFive Claflin students and a professor are taking part in a Brazil Travel Seminar as part of the new Global Leadership Initiative at the University.

The group arrived in São Paulo, Brazil, on July 31 and will be back in Orangeburg on August 16. The excursion is in collaboration with the Universidade Metodista de São Paulo.

“During the seminar, we will be studying the history, culture and current trends in scholarship related to Brazil and its phenomenal Afro-Brazilian history, shared story of slavery in the Americas as with the United States, and one of the most innovate sites for global commerce, sustainability and diversity of cultural life,” said Dr. Johnny Hill, associate professor of philosophy and religion at Claflin who is among those in Brazil. “It was also, of course, the recent home of the World Cup soccer championship.”

Students RaShodd Howze, Kasanta White, Hazel Harkness, TaRon Jamison and Niya Anderson were selected to participate in the Brazil Travel Seminar because of their academic standing, community involvement, preparation, and recommendations from professors and deans. While there, they are engaging with students, scholars, citizens, leaders, politicians and students from the University of Washington while reflecting on a critical analysis of racial, ethnic, cultural and religious differences and its relationship to economics and politics, particularly in a postcolonial context.

The students are keeping daily logs and will prepare a report of their experiences for Claflin’s International Study Abroad Office and the Office of the Provost. They will also present a summary of their experiences to the Claflin community.

On the itinerary is worshiping at a local Methodist church, participating in lectures and presentations at the Universidade Metodista de Sao Paulo MASP (Museu de Arte de São Paulo), visiting the Museu Afro-Brasil and the Latin America Memorial, touring the Soccer Museum, traveling to Rio De Janeiro, meeting with various community leaders and more.

“Through the trip, we hope to help shape visionary leaders for the global world, exposing them to an exciting cultural immersion experience and what it means to truly think in a global perspective,” Hill said. “I am deeply honored to lead such a seminar and to help guide students into a deeper understanding of leadership in a global context. The lives of the students will be forever transformed by this experience.”

Sponsored by the Global Leadership Initiative of The United Methodist Church and the Visionary Leadership Institute of Claflin University, the Brazil Travel Seminar explores the interlocking social, political, cultural, economic, historical and religious aspects of Brazil’s unique role in shaping perspectives on global leadership. Participants will consider the social, political and historical dimensions of slavery, colonialism and contemporary economic theory in Brazil in the context of globalization and emerging technological advances.

“We are deeply grateful to the Provost Office – Dr. Karl Wright and Dr. Angela Peters – as well as School of Humanities and Social Sciences Interim Dean Dr. Donald Pace and Dr. Leon Chang Shik, interim director of Claflin’s International Studies Program, for the support and vision in helping to make such a journey possible,” Hill said.

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