On February 26, I attended a meeting of the board of the ACM Tanzania program in Chicago. Little did I know that my book, Africans and Americans: Embracing Cultural Differences would come up in the conversations. Yet that happened.
Just before the meeting began, Professor Paul Overvoorde of Macalester College who had accompanied ACM students on their study abroad semester in Tanzania talked to me about my book. He said he had used it, and he praised it as a valuable resource.
After the meeting started, Professor Karl Wirth, also of Macalester College, mentioned the book and later suggested that the ACM use it as a resource for recruiting students for the ACM Tanzania program and the ACM Botswana program. Eventually, more voices joined in and the idea of a webinar was proposed, which would be based on the book and would involve participants from ACM colleges. Mariah Wika, ACM campus outreach coordinator would work with me on the webinar.
This was pleasant news to me, bearing in mind that the genesis of the book owed some of its impetus to the ACM Tanzania board, more than ten years ago. During one of the meetings of the board, Professor John Greenler, then of Beloit College who was getting ready to accompany ACM students to Tanzania, urged me to write a document, even just several pages long, for cultural orientation.
I set out to write those several pages, but ended up producing a book manuscript. The late Kim Tunnicliff, then ACM vice president, was one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the book manuscript. On one occasion, as he was preparing a report on the ACM Tanzania program for the ACM deans, he kindly asked me to allow him to use what I had written on gender issues. He thanked me for letting him use my work that way.
Those are some of the memories I have of the connection between my book and the ACM board. What transpired several days ago at the ACM Tanzania board meeting was not out of the ordinary. I am, nevertheless, very pleased that ACM board members continue to regard the book as a valuable resource and are exploring new ways of using it.