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  • Young African Leaders to Participate in Smithsonian Folklife Festival

    The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage will host a “Cultural Democracy and Statecraft” seminar on July 3, led by Cultural Heritage Policy director James Early and in collaboration with twenty-five members of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

    A flagship initiative of President Barack Obama and administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, the YALI program is designed for the young leaders “to participate in a multidisciplinary itinerary of academic seminars, cultural and civic activities, and service learning projects geared toward public management … to prepare Fellows for follow-on leadership opportunities in Africa, with the goal of strengthening democratic institutions and spurring economic growth and development on the continent.” YALI’s goals intersect with the Center’s philosophy, mission, and applied cultural democracy and cultural sustainability policies and long-term collaborative planning of the Folklife Festival with citizens and governments.

    The one-day seminar includes visits to the China: Tradition and the Art of Living and Kenya: Mambo Poa Folklife Festival programs and proactive-sharing among African participants about their awareness, ideas, questions, problematics, and proposals about why and how creative cultural expressions and knowledge systems in their respective countries and the African continent (e.g. medicinal, artisanal, philosophical, agricultural, and culinary) are already factored into policies or might be sustainably incorporated in democratic governance and policies of material and spiritual wellbeing.

    For more information, contact seminar coordinators:
    Dr. Jean Bailey, director of cultural and civic activities of the Howard University Washington Fellowship for YALI:, 202.421.5552
    Sonja N. Woods, assistant:, 919.724.9107

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