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CONTACT:  Dr. Robert B. Ingram


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

MIAMI – During its April meeting, the Miami-Dade County School Board approved a request by Board Member Dr. Robert Ingram for two students and a teacher from Miami Carol City Senior High School to travel to Rwanda, East Africa.  The students will visit Rwanda from May 23rd – June 4th.

The trip is funded by the Foundation for Democracy in Africa and is part of an exchange program that fosters collaboration between the Miami-Dade County school district and the Foundation, a Washington D.C. based organization.  During their stay in Africa, the students and teacher will join an impressive group of students, teachers, and parents to experience student exchange opportunities between Miami-Dade County and Rwanda.

The Foundation for Democracy in Africa is a development organization committed to promoting democracy, sustainable development and economic growth throughout Africa.  Founded in 1994, the foundation is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), non-governmental, non-partisan institution with offices in Miami, Florida.


At the school Board Meeting of August 22, 2001, the School Board passed Agenda item K-2 directing the Superintendent to "determine the strategy for collaborating with the Foundation for Democracy in Africa towards establishing sister school partnerships and student exchange programs with schools in Africa."

Why Africa? (Why Not?)
The School Board has established the value of engaging in "student exchange" activities with other countries (evidenced by recurring Board approved student travels to various European countries such as France, Germany, Italy, England to name a few). So, why not Africa? -especially giving the historical ties that bind Africans in America A.K.A African-Americans.

Statement of Need
As Miami-Dade County Public Schools move into the twenty-first century, there is a growing need to help students develop an appreciation for all people and cultures from around the world. In addition, students must develop the skills needed to compete in an increasingly complex and interdependent global economy. Furthermore, considering the historical ties that bind the Americas with the African continent, and Miami-Dade County serving as "Africa's Gateway to the Hemisphere", we must explore new and exciting ways to expose students to the social, cultural, and economic diversity of the nations of Africa. In light of the recently passed Trade Act of 2000 (African Growth and Opportunity Act, AGOA, and Caribean Basin Initiative-CBI) the need for this educational program for trade development in this hemisphere cannot be overemphasized. In affirming the significance of this initiative, President Bush said "No nation in our time has entered into the fast tack of development without first opening up its economy to world markets. The African Growth and Opportunity Act [AGOA] is a road map for how the United States and Africa can tap the power of markets to improve the lives of our citizens."

The overall goal is to establish sister school partnerships and student exchange programs with schools in Africa:

· Short-Term Goal: We intend to use the symposium as a point of departure and baseline for developing a curriculum resource guide that include activities and lessons that emphasize the history, geography, politics and cultural contributions of Africa. As well as utilizing appropriate communication technology as a preparatory instrument to facilitate future exchange.

· Long-Term Goal: Is the development of meaningful relationships by the establishment of a Student exchange process.

To create an enabling environment that allows students develop an appreciation for the African culture (i.e. social, economic, political, and spiritual values of the African Continent).


(a) The Foundation for Democracy in Africa will identify schools for the project.

(b) The Miami-Dade County Public Schools will identify a feeder pattern (Carol City Elementary, Carol City Middle, Miami Carol City Senior, focusing on grades 1, 6 & 9).

(c) Community involvement - We will establish a community based initiative utilizing NDU (African Rites of Passage Program) that brings student participants, their parents, mentors, local churches, schools, elected officials, professional organizations, and the entire citizenry to create a partnership that under girds this initiative.

Quite in line with the African belief that "it takes a whole village to raise a child", this project attempt to assemble all stakeholders for the sole purpose of educationally enriching our children. It is our expectation that at the culmination of this indoctrination exercise, a child would be well equipped with the tools to compete in this "global village".


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