LIVE BLOG: Midtown Wednesdays: Building Global Networks to Africa

Rich Brhel shows us a copy of Folsom's Mercantile College, Cleveland (currently Myers University) college course offerings from the 1850's.

Participants today include leaders for Cleveland Bikes, Hiram College alumni, Myers University professor, law, Afican American entrepreneurs, family planning, biofuels and manufacturing. Each individual represents new opportunities to build innovation and entrepreneurship.

Making Global Connections - Gwen Fischer talks to us about the value of making connections. Gwen traveled in Zimbabwe, Mozmbique, Tanzania and many other parts of Africa during 2001 and 2002. Africa was deteriorating at that time. Gwen started to think about these questions: What do I know? What skills do I have? What interests me? What resources do I have available?

This became obvious when Gwen traveled to different parts of Africa realizing quickly that people

What Next? Where can these be useful? Whom do I know? How can I find others I don't know yet? Gwen began by mapping who she knew and how they are related to each other.

Next steps for a Journey to Africa: Gwen began to learn from people and organizations who she knew and settled on some strong personal decisions. With a Rotary teaching award Gwen began many trips to teach in Africa.

NGO's teach aids prevention.

Professor Dudley is a leader is sending millions of books to South Africa BookSmart in Africa. This is one of many collaborations and connections bringing resources to Africa. The Internet has made the difference.

Another realization: is that we are all the same. Eileen Burutsa is an African leader who now lives in Akron who raises resources for her homeland Zembabwe.

Gwen spent a year in Africa teaching children in Africa and studying infant growth.

We're all the same: Nurturing Children and Empowering the Marginalized Kudzai Shava is Gwen's research assistant. Shava was selected as one of 8 from Africa awarded the Claude Aki Award.

Nurturing Children who have been Neglected or Abandoned Sparrow Village (South Africa) Aurora Rotary, Anglican Research Center

International and Institutional Connections Gwen is connected to the Fulbright Scholar Program, Africa American Institute, Rotary International, etc. Personal connections can be leveraged to help us to strengthen the work we do.

Gwen shows us many photos of the beautiful scenery, schools and people. A poor school is one teacher sitting on the floor with one book for the class. Gwen shows us another science class proud of the one piece of equipment: a cart for doing experiments at, but there is no other equipment to do experiments with.

Girl Child Network Trust / Zimbabwe (another example of how we are all alike) and the Princess Program (Cleveland) exchanged one round of letters. The Zimbabwe group was very excited to learn that their sister group in Cleveland have the same problems they do.

HKMU: photos of professors, classes of the medical school

How can we replicate? We need to not be jealous of others with good ideas. We need to be generous and share ideas with others. Focus on how can this idea be of benefit to others? Following up is very important and you must find out what others think.

Richard Dawkins - thinks about ideas or "memes"; human beings are social creatures and learn by sharing in small clusters to solve problems; adolescents growing up in dysfunctional communities are of greater risk to suicide.

An idea for others:
Start a school

Make a film about how a blind person gets through each day.

Carl Williams: works on strengthening international African and African American connections.

- - - will stay June 7th through

Kudzai will visit for one month this summer.

Phil Lane talks about Hiram College's lab in renewable energy. It is unusual for a lab exists at this liberal arts college. Sugar cane and corn are two crops that will be a future fast track to wealth for Africans. If Zimbabwe could begin to use their land to grow these crops as well as blue green algae. The lab at Hiram needs all the support we can provide. Every delemia the earth faces boils down to energy and politics.

Alot of the traditions have gone to the wayside in Africa because people are struggling to survive. In 2001 the exchange rate was 100:1; today it is 1000:1. This kind of economic instability reduces peoples and cultures to nothing.

This summer:
1) I-Open hosts a forum to work with African visitors this summer to create co=operatives to begin building renewable energy solutions for Africa.
2) What about shipping bikes to Africa?
3) Film summer guests to Midtown this summer
4) Map our international networks

Network---> Foundation support

local African American organizations welcome, event and netowrks to Africa
- summer visitors connect with the forum group
- engage the World Trade Center/Cleveland
- computer rehab Payne/30th//RETT3 - Kevin Cronin
- knowledge of global business networks
- find out about businesses interested in Africa
- Kudzai - setting up computer centers/internet cafes managed by the blind- this is a huge market inZimbabwe
- Pharm companies funding efforts in Africa for children
- Trade TO the US/Midtown - cheap labor
- funding topic: children
- solar experts


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