In observance of Women’s
History Month, The Savannah
Tribune will spotlight significant
women in our community
and world. This week, we spotlight
Dr. Peggy Blood, a distinguished
professor at Savannah
State University. Blood was
selected to travel to Liberia.
Here is her personal account.
“Being selected by the US Department of State’s Art in Embassies Program to travel and conduct cultural programming for three weeks in Liberia was most inspiring as an educator and artist. The Republic of Liberia is located in West Africa, on the coast bordered by Sierra Leone, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire and the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. The 3, 500,000 people are painfully trying to rebuild their country after several coup d’états and one major devastation war that paralyzed the country.
The objective of my trip was to foster cross-cultural dialogue through lectures, workshops, television and radio appearances on art by sharing my art, and the story of the United States to all segments of society; beyond the wall of the diplomatic residences into local communities in Monrovia. I was the personal guest of Mrs. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Ambassador to Liberia while staying in Monrovia. The Ambassadors, ocean front residence is located inside the compound of the US Embassy.
Under a second grant agreement issued by US of America (Fulbright-Hays), I traveled to Buchanan, Grand Bassa County; Suakoko, Ganta, Gbarnga, Karata, and Voinjama, to conduct workshops for local artists meet with instructors in local high schools; college and university professors. My entire itinerary for Liberia was well orchestrated by highly professional staff under the leadership of Mrs. Deha Ghebreab, grants officer and the US Marines.
Liberia is known as the land founded for African American free-slaves. Liberia is still struggling and remains at the bottom of the scale simply due to the lack of investment in the industry and perhaps it does take time to rebuild a metropolitan city.
There is evidence of growth and revitalization of spirit: organized association and organizations; construction hotels, banks, and houses.
Many of you are familiar with Businessman Bob Johnson of BET, he has built an impressive resort and villa, “ Kendeja” located between the airport and Monrovia. There is growing interest in investments and in particular agriculture, construction, tourism, and extractive industries. Many investors I spoke to complained about the slow pace for approvals. What was noticeable to me were, no place for children to play (parks), no theaters to watch movies.
It was in Nigeria at the Obafemi Awolowo University one of many universities that Savannah State University share a memorandum of understanding within their academic programs.
My primary purpose to visit Ill Ife was to restructure an on going E-learning class in art history taught by professor Dr. Sehende Adeleye, Chair Department of Fine Arts, Obafemi Awolowo University and myself.
It was a wonderful visit, however, throughout my many travels in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America; there is no place like the USA.
Peggy Blood, Distinguished
Savannah State University