Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Mandela Fellows

NOTE: This turned out not to be feasible. But I'm leaving the post up, because with this smart group of students, perhaps another idea will arise. And you all should know about the Mandela Fellows anyway!

The original version of our schedule included a vague notion of a service-related project on the final day. I was about to give up on the idea and just fill the day with cafe visits. But a new concept is coming into focus. I'll know more shortly; meanwhile I'll share what I am hoping for. If it falls through, we will figure out something else.

The idea is to serve coffee to our visitors who are participating in the Mandela Washington Fellows program. This is a program sponsored by the U.S. State Department, in which BSU is participating for the first time. 1,000 young professionals from all over Africa are at various U.S. for six weeks of professional development. BSU has 25 of them from 17 countries -- men and women in all kinds of public-sector employment, including diplomats and judges. All are under 35 years old, and they are simply wonderful people. You may have seen them on my Facebook page.


National Facebook:

BSU Mandela Fellows page:

BSU Mandela Facebook:

So with all that as background -- here is what I have for an idea. Two of the participants are from Ethiopia, where coffee originated. When I mentioned coffee and Ethiopia during an EarthView presentation, one of them was very pleased and knew the whole story, of course. She offered to help me arrange a study tour to Ethiopia some time. So this gave me the idea of serving coffee from Ethiopia to the entire group.

We can do so in our classroom, which has six tables -- one for each of you to serve the coffee and have a discussion with 4-5 of the visitors. This discussion can include coffee but also give you a chance to ask the visiting Fellows about their home countries. How exactly this all works, we will have the week to figure out.

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