By Thomas Calder
Agya Boakye-Boaten, chair and associate professor of Africana Studies at UNC Asheville, was recently awarded a fellowship by the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and managed by the Institute of International Education in collaboration with the United States International University-Africa.
With funding from the fellowship, Boakye-Boaten will return to his native Ghana in June to begin a curriculum development initiative with host collaborator, Augustina Adusah-Karikari, coordinator of the Liberal Arts Program at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA). Boakye-Boaten is one of 70 African diaspora scholars chosen to return to Africa this year to collaborate with higher education institutions there on projects in many disciplines.
Boakye-Boaten will assist Ghanaian faculty at GIMPA in the development of multi-disciplinary, liberal arts curricular design, and will plan future opportunities for UNC Asheville students to collaborate with Ghanaian students on undergraduate research projects.
“The challenges facing developing nations must be confronted with a versatile workforce with the intellectual skills to adapt to the constantly changing dynamics of our global system,” said Boakye-Boaten.
“Students will need an advanced global orientation and intercultural skills while being positioned to synergize local innovative ideas. And students with those skills can grow into the leaders African nations will need if they are to accrue the benefits of globalization, while maintaining our cultural ideals and heritage and build societies that are more just and equitable.
“Therefore, the proposed project focuses on the development of an undergraduate general education curriculum with a liberal arts focus that places global leadership, critical thinking, critical writing skills, and ethics and social institutions as its emphasis,” Boakye-Boaten said. “Long-term, I hope the project will contribute to the preparation of future leaders who are able to transcend challenges in today’s global world with pragmatism, creativity, and ethical responsibility.”
Boakye-Boaten has joined with other faculty to lead many study-abroad summer trips to Ghana for UNC Asheville students. The “Discover Ghana 2015” trip won the 2017 Best Practices in International Education Award for Study Abroad Programming from NAPSA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.
In addition to chairing UNC Asheville’s Africana Studies Program, Boakye-Boaten directs the university’s Interdisciplinary and International Studies Programs. Under his leadership, the Africana Studies Program is launching Moja, An Interdisciplinary Journal of Africana Studies, with submissions now being accepted for the journal’s debut open-access issue.
Boakye-Boaten earned his Ph.D. in educational studies, with an emphasis on cultural studies in education, at Ohio University. He also possesses two master’s degrees, both from Ohio University, in political science and international affairs. He earned his bachelor’s degree in social work/administration and political science from the University of Ghana, Legon, in Accra. He also is a seasoned musician and master drummer.
With his background in education and social work as well as cultural studies, Boakye-Boaten’s research and writing interests include alternative education for street children; modern slavery, child trafficking and child labor; collaborative international teacher education; and service learning.