Umoja: UWC Short Course in Tanzania
ISM and UWC ideals interlaced at Umoja, a UWC short course which took place on the ISM campus in June 2018. The first UWC short course in East Africa, Umoja used the diverse history of our region as a backdrop to explore the idea of conflict through three primary modules: politics, the environment and culture.
The program coordinators dubbed Tanzania “a beacon of peace in an area surrounded by conflict… an ideal location” for this holistic exploration. The course was centered around experiential workshops and field trips in the area, from tree planting in West Kilimanjaro to visiting local communities by Lake Eyasi. Program coordinator Wadeisor Rukato emphasized that the location really lent itself to a multitude of hands-on learning opportunities that aligned perfectly with the UWC mission.
She also highlighted the importance of culture nights - these were participant-led sessions where individuals would share facts, food and beliefs about their home country to the rest of the group. Short course participant and ex-ISMer Ida van Zwetselaar commented on the vitality of listening to other cultural perspectives: “I learned to see problems from different perspectives and approach issues from different angles… I got to know many people who were different to me in so many aspects it blew me away… [it] also inspired me to interact with strangers, because you never know their stories until you ask.”
This falls in line with the program’s aim, to “equip participants with the skills they need to be leaders in their own communities [and] understanding the globalising world in which they live from their own individual perspective.” Ida certainly felt this was the case when exposed to a new Tanzania through the eyes of somebody visiting the country for the first time - “I learned much more about my surroundings as a Tanzanian resident...this was an interesting experience for me, considering my upbringing, which didn't stray very far from Moshi life. I built personal character throughout the short course and got to know myself better through others my age.”
We are so glad to witness the integration of ISM values and the UWC mission on our campus. As we edge closer and closer to potentially becoming a UWC, we are so proud to have hosted such an important and life-changing experience.
Look out for details about the next Umoja Short Course here or visit https://www.facebook.com/UmojaSC