October 2- 12, 2016 – Melton Foundation Fellows at Ashesi, Beryl Nana Ama Akuffo-Kwapong ‘18, Tito Magero ‘18, Vladimir Fomene ‘18 and Nana Kwame Oteng Darkwah ‘18 joined other fellows from around the globe, at the 2016 Global Citizenship Conference (GCC), in Chile. The GCC is an annual convening of Melton fellows and faculty from participating universities and leading Global Citizenship advocates to share, learn and provide tools to participants to be effective global citizens. Beryl Nana Ama Akuffo-Kwapong ‘18, shares the group’s experience over the 10-day period.
It is exciting looking forward to every semester at school knowing you will explore yet another continent. For myself and the other Melton fellows, it is always the one experience we look forward to. Every trip we have had together so far has not only been such a thrilling relief from tedious schoolwork, but also has come with unique growth experiences.
This semester it was Chile, the beautiful rocky volcanic plains in South America. We embarked on the journey to Chile, transiting through South Africa and then to Brazil before finally landing in Santiago, Chile’s capital and largest city. Chile is a gorgeous country, with a gift of active volcanoes, lovely people and finger-licking food.
Leading to the annual Global Citizenship Conference, we participated in a 3-day homestay program. Every fellow got a different Chilean family which hosted us for three days. Though everyone had an exclusive story to share about the experience, we all enjoyed the typical Chilean family culture; full of affection, respect for everyone and spontaneous celebration. Every family meal was a party and though none of us could speak Spanish, we were did our best to communicate gratitude and appreciation for the warm welcome.
The Global Citizenship Conference this year was different. It was the 25th Anniversary of the Melton Foundation; the organization of the entire conference was superb. It was filled with pomp and fun-fare. Of the three topics discussed; Gender empowerment, Indigenous cultures in a globalized world and Sustainability, we all found our niche in these ideas; participating in the skill-development workshops and training sessions. This year emphasised on tools to be able to carry out impactful projects on our various campuses and across the world. This we found helpful, especially, in reinforcing Melton’s contributions to the Ashesi campus and strengthening our impact on the Berekuso community.
Apart from engaging and participating in the conference, we had fun nights of celebration and immersion in the Chilean nightlife, which is pretty similar to that of the Ghanaian culture. On the whole, this 10-day experience provoked thoughts about how similar culture is, and how interrelated we are as humans. Chile was home and we definitely would not mind going back to its warmth, smiles and kisses from its people.
A recap of the daily events can be found here.