Vanessa Quainoo, an associate professor of Communication Studies and Africana Studies at the University of Rhode Island, has recently accepted an offer to travel to Ghana in October to present her work.
Quainoo was invited to present her paper regarding peace in Africa, specifically in Ghana. In her work, she touched upon how Africa and people of African descent have been divided due to disagreements on problems regarding sociological, psychological and economical problems throughout the continent. Her hopes are that this conference will bring together the great divide between the two groups.
“It’s called the Bridge Conference and it’s an exploration to philosophically and academically unite people of African descent from all over the world,” Quainoo said. “Primarily it started with an initiative to reconnect African Americans back to Africa, specifically Ghana.”
Quainoo’s paper discusses how peace should be a model for resolution to the conflict. She believes it is time for African descent to come together once and for all, in order to celebrate their culture. By presenting her paper to the world through various platforms, she hopes that her thoughts on peace will touch people, allowing her to make a difference as an individual.
“There’s a word in the African language called, Twi, the primary language in Ghana, and the word is, asomdwee and means peace,” Quainoo said. “I am looking at this concept of peace in African culture as a model of conflict of resolution.”
The conference will be available on many different platforms so that people all over the world can view these speeches. Even though the paper will primarily be directed toward citizens of African descent, Quainoo wants the whole world to be able to see that African culture contributes to many different communities in today’s society.
“I want the audiences both on-site and by remote to understand more about African culture,” Quainoo said. “I certainly want for African Americans to understand that we have a rich ancestry and cultural history and I also want for University of Rhode Island to understand that people of African descent, contribute to this wonderfully diverse community.”
Quainoo wants to emerge herself in African culture and have the opportunity to experience every aspect. She believes that it will make her a more well-rounded professor. Quainoo hopes to be able to give her students in her communication classes primary sources and share her experiences with them. She wants to be able to provide her students with a different experience than they are used to and immerse them in African culture.
“One of the things I will do is that when we talk about diversity and communication studies in my classes, I’ll have actual videos, not something from YouTube and I’ll be able to talk to my students using primary research,” Quainoo said.
Quainoo’s trip to Africa will also allow her to give her class a better sense of reality of what life is like in Ghana. Overall she hopes to make a difference in not just Africa but at URI as well. Quainoo will use her research and data from her trip and integrate it into her classes and the URI community. She is very excited to be able to present her paper to people of African descent, in the hopes of connecting them back together.