I’m home now, typing this in a coffee shop in my neighborhood, thinking about how different life is here. We take so much for granted and we could get by with much less. But a big difference in Lagos was that I didn’t wander much — most of my experiences were through the wheels of an automobile. Our daily commute gave me a fleeting window into the street life of Lagos. Each day was a long ride through layers of traffic-ridden roads with little yellow taxicabs — called kekes (pronounced Kaykay) — Piaggio-manufactured three wheeled covered motorcycles and yellow...Continue
My latest journey took me to Lagos, Nigeria, the most populous city in Africa, where I worked with a community to create a collaborative public mural for the facade of a police station in Ikeja. UR4Africa, a social enterprise dedicated to fostering creativity and unique African content amongst youth and young adults, hosted me during my two week stay in Nigeria. I met Shola, the organization’s founding director, and Abraham, one of her very valued mentor colleagues, at the airport. The organization was originally ‘United Reels for Africa’ as Shola is a filmmaker and the backbone of her mission...Continue
The Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy, with support from the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, is curating an exhibition highlighting U.S.-Japan baseball diplomacy that will debut in June. Baseball is arguably the most popular sport in Japan – the island nation is home to the largest professional baseball league outside of MLB in the United States. While the FIFA World Cup continues to be the most-watched sports event in the world, and professional basketball maintains its popularity overseas, baseball, “America’s pastime,” has been left relatively in the dark with regards to its international recognition. After being cut as an Olympic...Continue
This is the first blog in a series highlighting Meridian’s programs with India, both domestic and abroad. Each month a different department will select and share a project that represents our work with the world’s largest democracy. The series culminates in June with Meridian’s third annual cultural diplomacy forum, this year focusing on India.
March 8th marks International Women’s Day, a global call to action for all to support women’s rights and gender equality. We use this day to remind us of the great amount of work still yet the be accomplished in respect to these issues, including wage parity, political representation, trafficking, and abuse. A complex case study, India is a nation with its fair share of triumphs and difficulties in respect to women’s rights. Women have held the posts of president and prime minister in India, yet the country remains lowly ranked in the Global Gender Gap Report.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced the addition of 16 new sites to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list on December 1. This gives us a great opportunity not just to celebrate new additions but to think about how to protect them. These 16 new sites are literally from all over the world: Europe, Asia, South America, the Middle East, and Africa. As a Japanese intern, I was personally glad to see that “Yama, Hoko, Yatai float festivals in Japan” was on the list. This tradition encompasses 33 festivals in 18 prefectures throughout Japan, showing the...Continue