A Nation Seeking Knowledge
(Sign in Sal Airport Terminal)
Since moving to Massachusetts in 1997, I had been gradually learning more about the island nation of Cape Verde. Located just west of West Africa, the former Portuguese colony won independence in 1975. Almost as many Cape Verdeans (including recent immigrants and the sons and daughters of the second, third, and fourth generations) live in this region as live in the country itself.
My interest grew sharply in the fall 2005, when the president of our college -- himself a Cape Verdean -- asked me to lead a study tour of the country. I was greatly honored, and quickly set about learning as much as I could about this most interesting place. I have found many interesting connections between Cape Verde and my ongoing work in Brazil.
|Due to the vagaries of air travel to Cape
Verde and the constraints of our 2006 Spring Break
schedule, our first visit was limited to six days, mainly
on the island of Santiago. We followed a busy schedule
that allowed us to interact with students and teachers,
learn about historic sites, enjoy some music, and study
some development projects. During our first tour,
the municipal planning agency in Praia made a presentation about urban
development to our group.
Instruction is in English; Portuguese and Cape Verdean Creole are real advantages, though. Study them if you are planning to join us!
GEOG 400: Special Topics -- Geography of Sustainable Development in Cape Verde.
Cape Verde is a country at important geographic and historic crossroads. Geographically, it ties together Africa, Europe, and the Americas in a number of unique ways. Historically, it is a country that stands between a past full of hardship and a future full of promise. Through hard work at home and support of Cape Verdeans abroad, the country has made great progress in recent years. Both because of recent progress and because of its strategic importance, Cape Verde has a chance to accelerate its economic development in coming years. Too often, such rapid development has led to important mistakes in terms of both human welfare and environmental quality. This course gives students the opportunity to tour Cape Verde while thinking deeply and creatively about its possible futures.
|Links for Sustainable
Development in Cape Verde
This study tour is not the easiest way to visit Cape Verde, nor the least expensive. We do hope, however, that the itinerary and activities we have planned will help students to learn a lot in a short period. We also hope that the the good people of Cape Verde gain something from the interaction. To get the most out of the trip, participants should prepare themselves by learning about Cape Verde itself and about the latest thinking on sustainable development. Each of the links on this page is meant to help students get ready for the journey.
In April and May prior to the June 2008 study tour, we will hold on-campus events that explore some of these themes.
The NPR story "At Home on the Road" gives listeners an introduction to Cesaria Évora, the beauty of Cape Verde, and the longings of its people.
Longing for home is known as "Sodade," which is, appropriately, also the name of the premier magazine on Cape Verdean music.
The web page for the story " Nigeria's Trees " (July 2, 2007) includes audio, video, and links to related stories. A geographer and an ecologist study the return of trees to the fringe of the Sahara desert. Reforestation is also important for Cape Verde.
Sustainable development in Cape Verde takes place within a changing African context. Two Boston Globe articles provide an introduction: "Europe-Africa summit ends on fractious note" (December 10, 2007) and "Africa Rising" (December 9, 2007). NPR covered the Africa-Europe summit on Morning Edition December 10.
Cape Verde is known as the home of Atlantic hurricanes. Learn about hurricane researchers working in Cape Verde from NPR.
On February 22, 2006, Geographer Steve Whitman presented "The Sweden - Cape Verde Connection: Sustainable Development Study Tours " to help us prepare for this study tour.
For more about Cape Verde, see the web sites listed at DMOZ-Cape Verde.
For information on BSC study tours and semester programs worldwide, see the Office of International and Exchange Programs, where you can also find applications, costs, and other details regarding the Cape Verde course.
Learn how providing assistant to countries such as Cape Verde is in the U.S. national interest, and how China has been figuring out the same thing, in Diplomacy Better than Force, an interview with Professor Joseph Nye.
See the European Union's report on indicators for monitoring sustainable development in Europe. Also see the overview of SD research in Europe How much of this is applicable to Cape Verde?
Listen to NPR coverage of President Bush's February 2008 visit to Africa. While you are there, search NPR for stories on sustainable development.
TechBridgeWorld is a project of Carnegie-Mellon Univerisity that innovates and implements technology solutions to meet sustainable development needs around the world. I had the privilege of meeting several people associated with this group, and I have invited one of its alumni to give one of our pre-departure presentations in Spring 2008.
Harvard's Calestous Juma has a lot to say about the appropriate roles for knowledge and innovation in the development process, particularly in Africa.