DIASPORA SPOTLIGHT: VIVIAN KOBUSINGYE BIRCHALL – DIASPORA KNOWLEDGE AMBASSADOR

Vivian is a passionate advocate of protecting and exploring indigenous African knowledge, and building bridges between the diaspora and African communities to facilitate informed and equitable knowledge exchange and management.

Vivian was born and raised in Uganda, and earned a degree in Development Studies at Makerere University, and a graduate certificate in Good Governance from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. She has worked to promote good governance and combat corruption, and traveled to several other countries across Africa experiencing vastly different cultures. Vivian moved to the United States several years ago and continued to practice “cultural diplomacy” in her work with the public sector and non-profits, encouraging cross-cultural understanding and identification of strengths and areas for collaboration.

 

Vivian desires to bring more awareness of Africa, its nations, its people, and their wealth of culture, to communities in the United States. Throughout history, indigenous societies have survived by passing on knowledge from one generation to the next.  Knowledge was shared through storytelling, folklore, music, dance and poetry, as well as training in household skills and key specialized skills such as blacksmithing, surgery, and midwifery.  Many communities in Africa still preserve their indigenous knowledge and practices, which have historically defined their cultural identity and moral values.


Vivian created and hosts a cultural education TV program, Africa2U, which takes a culturally pluralistic approach to compare and contrast traditional indigenous knowledge and practices in Africa with their modern-day equivalents in America. The program is cablecast by ActonTV, a local non-profit community TV station in New England, which also uploads each episode to YouTube. Her blog (www.africa2u.org) expands on information covered in the show. Vivian also provides cultural education experiences in classrooms and extracurricular settings.  She has also collaborated with several initiatives of the Diaspora Studies Initiative of the African Studies Center, including presenting at the collaborative Wakanda panel in May. To learn more, please visit and subscribe to Vivian’s blog.