This post was written by Nadia Chaney, a Dialogue Associate at the Simon Fraser University Wosk Centre for Dialogue and a social artist who empowers community voice through radical dialogue.
Education is a meaning-making venture. The content of a curriculum is always important, and, it is always housed in its own context. When context changes, meaning changes. So what happens to the meaning making operation of education when it crosses borders? I am interested in the complex relationships and nuanced interrogations of the question of identity that arise in particular as education moves across borders in the bodies of diasporic people. Of both historical and current importance, this question of identity in education confronts diasporic people here and around the planet. My own interest in this question comes from being a first generation Canadian with multi-faceted Indian roots and working as an educator in Bangalore, India. My arts-based empowerment work with PYEGlobal.org has been brewing on the Pacific Northwest Coast for 9 years. In 2009, when PYE partnered with Dream a Dream (.org) in Bangalore, I had an opportunity to explore some of these questions for myself.
The English word “education” comes from a Latin root, ducere, which means to draw out, or to lead forward. From a certain perspective, education can seem like a necessity, almost as important as food, water or family. It can offer access to work, security, and even personal fulfillment. In relation to this perspective and to what education offers, the context of leading and following is important to note: it raises certain questions about relevance and responsibility.
Images and metaphors come with and are embedded in curriculum and methodologies that are “exported” across borders. It is thus important to think about the assumptions that accompany these exported curriculums and how they affect the relevance and effectiveness of educational work in development.
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Ashok Puri poses with the head doctor at the Sreedhareeyam eye clinic in Kerela, India. Photo Courtesy of Ashok Puri.
This post was written by Ashok Puri, a member of the Indian diaspora in Vancouver.
Ayurvedic eye treatment helped heal my eyes, after Western doctors declared my condition ‘untreatable’.
Some years ago, I had a cataract operation. At the time, I was overly anxious and excited to have my vision improved. Cataract operations are so routine and quick that I couldn’t wait for the results. After the operation, I opened my right eye, expecting 20/20 vision.
Unfortunately, this was not the case. My sight went unchanged and remained at 20/60. I was diagnosed with idiopathic perifoveal telangiectasia shortly after. This is a rare, irreversible condition in which there is leakage of fluid from extra blood vessels around the fovea, a part of the eye that allows sharp vision for reading and watching television. The worst part was not just that this condition can lead to blindness, but that there is no known cure in the allopathic system of conventional medicine.
I was given one option, an expensive non FDA-approved injection called Avastin, which had no guaranteed results.
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Panther Kuol speaks at the Engaging Diasporas in Development Project launch.
This post was written by Joanna Ashworth and Shaheen Nanji, Project Directors.
Simon Fraser University, with funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), is convening a public dialogue series called Engaging Diaspora in Development: Tapping Our Trans-local Potential for Change to explore the unique role of diaspora living in Metro Vancouver and the impact of their continued connection to the global south.
The first dialogue will be held on January 19th at SFU’s Wosk Centre for Dialogue (580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver) and will focus on diaspora-led efforts to reduce poverty and stimulate economic development. Subsequent dialogues will examine health, education, peace and security and the overall impact and potential of diaspora in development. The dialogues are organized around the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) themes.
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