African Education: Lifelong and Lifewide Learning June 16, 2019

This TEDx Talk with Carl Manlan, sharing about learning about resilience and entrepreneurship while “walking down the streets of my neighborhood,” reminds me of my son, walking home from high school in Dakar.

Diallo is a Hero for Me2016

I remember one of my 8th grade teachers asking each student to write about their hero. Many students wrote about famous people such as Rosa Parks, Maria Sharapova, Zinedine Zidane, or Salif Keïta. The protagonist of my story was Diallo, a fruit vendor on the street where I lived in Mermoz, a neighborhood of Dakar, Senegal. Walking home from school, I would chat with Diallo and tell him about my day. He would then to tell me about his. From our conversations over the years, I learned about bookkeeping, cost and profit, financial planning, quality control, marketing, customer service, and risk management. By seeing these concepts applied, I was able to link my classroom experience to the world around me.

My encounters with Diallo taught me to bridge theory and practice and ways of learning and doing. Nearly a decade after my encounters with Diallo, I realize we all have something unique and special to share. The challenge lies in unleashing that uniqueness in service of others and the world in which we live. My uniqueness lies in part in my ability to work fruitfully across differences. “Just as the beauty of a carpet has to do with the variety of its colors, the diversity of peoples, cultures and civilizations makes the beauty and richness of the world” (Amadou Hampâté Bâ). I continue to appreciate the complexities of our world and to cherish and learn from the multiplicity of perspectives I encounter in people on a daily basis.

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