Bahia Brazil

Brazil New Years Eve!

Salvador Bahia Brazil: Explorations in Race, Culture and Education

Salvador Bahia is known as the African heart of Brazil. The cultural presence and political power of Afro-Brazilians is steeped in over 500 years of resistance, survival and the strength of the African spirit.  The history of European enslavement of African people to the region dates back to the early 1500s where Portuguese enslavers would eventually bring nearly 40% of all enslaved African people to the region. As the center of the early Brazilian slave trade, Bahia is distinctive in African character. These include the Yoruba-derived religious system of Candomblé, the martial art of capoeira African-derived music such as samba, afoxé, and ахй, and foods with strong links to western Africa. Salvador is the capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia. Nearly the size of Texas, the state of Bahia holds the roots of the Brazilian nation.

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Belize is a country in Central America which has a diverse society, composed of many cultures and speaking many languages. Belize is culturally unique among Central American nations. It is the only nation in Central America with a British colonial heritage. Culturally, Belize considers itself to be Central American but keeps ties to the Caribbean Islands. Our tour to Belize offers a blend of cultural exploration along with the astounding beauty of beaches, rainforests, caves and ancient ruins. Our cultural emphasis is on the Garifuna people in Dangriga who are descendents of Arawak indigenous and escaped African slaves. We also include two special treats on this tour; a day trip to Tikal National Park in Guatemala site of the largest Mayan ruins in Central America and Caye Coco Plum an exquisite small island off of the coast of Belize.

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Travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens is legal under guidelines established by the Department of Treasury.

As a revolutionary nation, Cuba continues to fascinate the world and peak the interests of students and educators seeking to explore the nation.  Cuba’s universal access to health care, housing, and education encourage us to think critically about rights and access.  With a life expectancy and literacy rate higher than most developed nations, The Cuban Revolution has its noted accomplishments especially in the face of a U.S. imposed embargo.  Yet challenges still occur in these and other areas which offers opportunity to explore issues of race, access, and internal and external forces that impact the aims of the nation.

Culturally, Cuba has given the world a blend of African and Latin music and art that pulses through the streets every night in Havana and other cities.  Cuba has produced major international figures in literature and fine arts, film, ballet, modern dance and theatre. The country is also renowned for its original rhythms such as the danzón, son, bolero, mambo, cha-cha-cha and more. Cuba’s prestigious cultural events attract international celebrities in dance, music, theatre and other arts. Among these events are the Casa de las Américas literary contest, the Havana International Ballet Festival, the Festival of New Latin American Cinema and the International Jazz Festival.

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Cuba Jazz Festival

Travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens is legal under guidelines established by the Department of Treasury.

This tour is only for Jazz and culture lovers!  Join us in December for the annual Havana International Jazz Festival founded by the great Chuchu Valdez.  During the day we will visit with Cuban artists, intellectuals, academics and cultural specialists to learn about Cuba’s African roots.

We will also visits agencies and community centers that are restricted to the average tourist but open for our academic travel purposes.

In the evenings we will enjoy Gold Star access to the Havana Jazz Festival which offers an amazing  main stage line-up followed by sessions with top notch artists at varying venues in Havana.

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Cuba Festival Del Fuego

Travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens is legal under guidelines established by the Department of Treasury.

The Festival del Fuego is an annual event on the eastern side of Cuba in the city of Santiago de Cuba.

Santiago is known as the cultural heart of the nation where much of the music, dance and African spirituality originates. It is also the seat of the origins of the Cuban Revolution with many historical sites of honor.

The Festival is part academic, part drum and dance performance, part ritual, and all deeply cultural, enriching and celebratory

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Many African Americans can trace their lineage directly to the culturally and historically rich nation of Ghana. Ghana was the first African nation to achieve independence from colonial rule (1957) and has thus served as a leading nation in Pan-Africanism and modern development. Many African American leaders including W.E. B. DuBois and Rita Marley came to Ghana and made it their permanent home because of the deep connections between culture and history. On this tour we will visit rural communities that hand produce kente-cloth and wood carvings, the slave coast—site of the many dungeons where enslaved Africans were held before being carried to the Americas, and meet with many grassroots environmentalist, HIV/AIDS workers and museums and crafts markets.

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Known for its beautiful beaches and world renowned reggae music, Jamaica is rich in culture and heritage. Our tour goes beyond the typical tourist trips in that we emphasize the Jamaican Maroon heritage on the eastern side of the island nation. The Maroons are Jamaican descendents of enslaved Africans who ran away from plantations and successfully fought for their freedom. They have lived freely in communities in the hills and near the ocean for nearly two centuries and have thus preserved much of their African cultural heritage. We will explore drum, dance, storytelling and natural healing remedies from this friendly community while we explore waterfalls, beaches and reggae music under the Caribbean sun.

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This tour will emphasize the beauty and fascination of Mexico’s thriving culture past and present. With lectures from university faculty, street artists and community organizers, the objective is to explore the people, culture and heritage of a country whose true heart is rarely seen through the lens of U.S. mass media. Join us in exploring, engaging and re-thinking Mexico.

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Panama is the country that bridges central and South America and is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. There are thriving indigenous communities working to preserve land and environmental rights, a large Afro-Panamanian population whose heritage comes directly from various Caribbean islands, a metropolitan capital city and of course the famed Panama canal—An engineering marvel with a fascinating history. This tour incorporates each of these elements of nature, indigenous and Black cultural heritage as we visit communities, rainforests and small islands.

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