Program Summary

This four-week seminar will explore the history and culture of Senegal, a country known for its vibrant cultural traditions. The intensive experience offered by this program will give participants a solid practical knowledge of Senegalese culture, including a familiarity with the country’s history, religion, politics, educational systems, and art forms such as music, dance, film and literature. 

Senegal has a diverse cultural and political history and today represents a successful post-colonial democracy in Francophone West Africa.  Participants will be exposed to differences in secular, Islamic, and non-formalized education in Senegal and will have the opportunity to learn about the educational history and culture of this country from the perspective of Senegalese educators who themselves are of diverse ethnic and cultural origins.  Although French is the official language of Senegal, participants will be exposed to Wolof – the most widely spoken – and other languages of the country.  Additionally, the seminar will delve into the vibrant art, music, dance, film and literature that is central to this West African country, learning directly from experts and practitioners in these fields.  Some of these art forms (such as oral history and drumming) are learned not through a formalized education system but rather through oral tradition, which continues to be an important mode of transmitting knowledge from one generation to the next, a tradition which will be explored as well.

 Participants will deepen their knowledge of Senegalese history and culture through a series of interactive lectures, field trips, readings and discussions.  During the course of the four weeks, participants will be based in the capital city Dakar, hosted by the West African Research Center.  They will also travel to key sites in Senegal including Gorée Island; the holy cities of Touba and Tivaouane; Saint Louis, the former capital of French West Africa; and Kaolack in the Saloum region.  Travel will include visits to Quranic schools, secular schools, universities, and NGOs focused on improving children’s educational opportunities.  There will also be interactive workshops in drumming and dance, with participants learning through oral tradition.  The first-hand experience gained from this program will be immediately applicable in the classroom and in building curricula, especially to those teaching subjects in Social Studies, Arts and Music, and Language Arts.  Having completed the program, participants will be able to share with their students and colleagues a deeper understanding of this West African country and its relevance to world events.

This program is for 16 secondary teachers and administrators selected by Fulbright Hays. A three day orientation in Boston (at Boston University) will precede the in-country program.

Published on June 17, 2010 at 1:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

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