Culture at the Center: Eritrean Community in D.C.

Every day around 5pm, people start pouring through a small heavy door on 18th Street in Adams Morgan.  Nearly hidden behind the long lines from the bars that surround it is the entrance to the Eritrean Civic and Cultural Center (ECCC).  Among the DMV’s considerable Eritrean population, the ECCC has emerged as one of the foremost meeting places for the community.  Continue  

Life in Lagos, Part II

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...

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Honoring the 2017 International Women of Courage

A few months ago I came back from lunch and noticed a new file sitting on my desk. Recognizing it as a new International Visitor Leadership Project (IVLP) assignment, I looked for the title and saw four letters: “IWOC”. Having no idea what that meant, I thought “Huh, strange.” Little did I know that I had been given the opportunity to work on one of the most inspiring public diplomacy programs that the State Department sponsors: The Secretary’s International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award. This annual two-week IVLP honors a visionary group of women for their respective work in advancing women’s rights all over the world. Continue  

Life in Lagos – Part I

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...

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