Nonprofit Global Ties Akron was selected as one of 12 organizations around the world to receive a grant as a part of the newly created Communities Connecting Heritage Program. Global Ties will begin recruiting local college students to help launch an online magazine and expo, along with developing online training for students in Akron and around the world as part of the Global Threads Collaborative Project.
Designed by Global Ties Akron and Creative Economy Group Serbia, the program will encourage student journalists whose written articles, video interviews and photos will capture the cultural heritage and stories of artists who represent the ethnic communities of Kikinda, Serbia, and of Akron’s resettled Bhutanese/Nepali refugees.
The program also will include in-person exchanges, and the participating student journalists, administrators, ethnic cultural preservation artists and leaders will celebrate the launch of Global Threads Online Magazine and Food Art Expo as a sustainable annual collaborative initiative, which will increase community awareness and support for ethnic artisans.
“Global Threads is an opportunity to tell the stories behind the arts and cuisine of our local Nepali and Bhutanese refugees,” said Michelle Wilson, executive director of Global Ties Akron. “Global Threads honors traditions passed down from generation to generation and keeps these essential elements of cultural heritage alive, adding to the vibrancy of our Akron community.”
Participants are matched with an overseas counterpart to collaboratively develop cultural heritage projects that engage their respective communities. The Communities Connecting Heritage exchange partners will educate participants in skills and knowledge relevant to their projects, covering topics like digital storytelling and the role of artists in communities.
Exchange participants also will use what they’ve learned to complete various project activities, like public exhibits, producing publications and creating their own artwork. The virtual exchanges will being in early 2018, leading up to the in-person exchanges and public exhibits in the subsequent spring and summer.
“This international collaborative project with Serbia provides a great opportunity for Global Ties to help celebrate the diversity in Akron through a focus on showcasing and preserving the cultural heritage of our local Nepali and Bhutanese refugees and fostering the continuation of their unique artistic talents,” said Theresa Minick, vice president, Global Ties Akron and Chair of Global Education.
“I am really excited and happy to be a part of this crucial project for 2018,” said Puspa Gajmer, founder and artistic director for the Himalayan Music Academy in Akron’s North Hill. “This is a wonderful program and project to expose and learn how we can impart a cultural story from various communities to another. This will help me to share the story of our communities to other people.”
This initiative is a partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Cultural Programs Division in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and World Learning, who will administer the project. The Communities Connecting Heritage exchange program empowers youth to protect the cultural heritage of at-risk communities in the United States and around the world. Through the program, students, teachers, community leaders and cultural heritage professionals will engage in online and in-person activities to initiate collaborations between communities in the United States and communities around the world.
For info, visit www.globaltiesakron.org.
Global Ties Akron has 40 years of experience in welcoming the world to our community and creating opportunities to celebrate and build mutual understanding of Akron’s diverse populations.
Creative Economy Group was formed in 2012, as an academic expert group that deals with the analysis of the relevant economic, legal and social issues of development of the creative economy in Serbia and West Balkan Countries.