African Educator Shows Students from Stockton, Area Schools
How Music Connects Global Culture
Benon Kigozi Also Does Workshops for South Jersey Teachers, Churches
Galloway, N.J. - Benon Kigozi of Uganda, a noted educator and jazz pianist, recently spent 10 days teaching students and teachers from South Jersey schools, Delaware State University and Stockton University about African performance traditions and how they relate to our shared history and global culture.
“Generally wherever I have been, I have been met with a lot of enthusiasm, both at the university and in the schools - people have been really expecting something different and new,” Kigozi said of his experience here.
Kigozi spoke to five Stockton classes and did a workshop with the Stockton Oratorio Society as part of his Feb.11-23 residency which also included visits to local schools, churches and community groups.
“Students have been very enthusiastic and played drums, sang and danced. And they learned the characteristics of call and response, through which they’ve understood how communal participation is part of the African culture,” he continued. In music, a call and response is a succession of two distinct phrases usually played by different musicians, where the second phrase is heard as a direct commentary on or response to the first. It is also used in singing hymns and responding to ministers’ sermons in many black churches.
African performance traditions were integrated as learning tools in several types of classes, including one taught by Donnetrice Allison, associate professor of Communications and Africana Studies. As Allison showed a film and led a discussion exploring how Christian missionary work was often intertwined with western enslavement of Africans, Music Professor Beverly Vaughn entered the classroom, along students carrying with dozens of black plastic buckets.
Very quickly, Kigozi had smiling students beating time on the buckets and singing as he played his African drum and sang a traditional song of thanks. A key piece of the lesson was how Africansociety held different religious beliefs and honored different social principles, including the importance of communal decision-making, exemplified by call and response. These beliefs, Allison noted, were not understood or valued by Europeans seeking free labor.
Kigozi also visited Absegami, Cedar Creek and Atlantic City high schools, as well as the New York Avenue, Martin Luther King and Uptown elementary schools in Atlantic City.
Kigozi provided a workshop for area teachers through the Southern Regional Institute& Educational Technology Training Center (SRI&ETTC) on the elements of African music, showing how they could incorporate it as an academic teaching tool in their classrooms. He also did a workshop at Delaware State University, a historically black public university in Dover.
He met Atlantic City Councilman Frank Gilliam, a Stockton alumnus, and Pleasantville school board member Bernice “Sandy” Couch, and had the opportunity to try African-American soul food at Kim and Kelsey’s Southern Cafe in Atlantic City. He also visited with Economics Professor Melaku Lakew, a native of Ethiopia who has organized many Books without Borders projects benefiting his homeland and other African nations.
At Stockton, he presented a free, public workshop, “A Sampling of Ugandan and East African Singing Music Traditions and Performance Practices,” and gave a free, public lecture, “Indigenous Knowledge Systems as a Way of Africanizing Music Arts Education through Technology.”
He also gave workshops for Mount Zion Baptist Church in Pleasantville and Central United Methodist Church in Linwood.
Kigozi is a senior staff member at the Department of Performing Arts and Film at Makerere University in Uganda. He is president of the Pan African Society for Musical Arts Education (PASMAE), president of the Uganda Society for Musical Arts Education (USMAE), and chair for Music In Africa Foundation on Education and Content. He previously served as head of Music at Africa University in Zimbabwe.
As visiting lecturer, Kigozi has presented research papers and conducted workshops at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, Texas Tech University, University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Cambridge University and the University of Glasgow in the U.K., Kabarak University in Kenya, University of Pretoria in South Africa, Kyambogo University in Uganda, Africa University, and in other countries including Greece, China, Malaysia and Italy.
He was surprised by how little many people he met knew about Africa.
“They don’t have an idea that Uganda is just a country and Africa is a continent,” he said. “A student in Delaware asked me about an instrument from West Africa as if I should know all about it. But I am from East Africa.”
Music Professor Beverly Vaughn, along with Associate Music Professor Christopher Di Santo, organized the visit after receiving funding from the university’s 2020 Initiatives program.
“This is the first time that the Music Program has been able to bring an artist and academician of this caliber to our campus for a 10-day residency,” said Vaughn. “This has changed our program and increased its visibility in the community.
“More importantly, this has given our students and the Stockton community a look into the wider world, realizing that we all live in a global culture and support each other,” she said. “We will not forget learning lessons through musical stories, communal decision-making and how these relate to our own western ideas. Our students’ awareness of the world has opened and we look forward to greater bridges being built between Kampala and Galloway, thanks to Dr. Benon Kigozi.”
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Stockton’s Atlantic City Campus Wins Award as N.J. Leading Infrastructure Project
Alliance for Action Cites Partners in Atlantic City Gateway Project
Galloway, N.J. - Stockton University’s Atlantic City campus was recognized as one of New Jersey’s Leading Infrastructure Projects with an award from the New Jersey Alliance for Action, a non-profit, non-partisan coalition of over 2,500 business, labor, professional, academic and government leaders.
The campus is part of the $210 million Atlantic City Gateway Project, which includes an academic building which will eventually accommodate 1,800 students, residences for 530 students, a parking garage with over 800 spaces and a new office tower for South Jersey Gas. The campus, currently under construction, is expected to open in fall 2018.
The Gateway Project is a public-private partnership with Atlantic City Development Corp. or AC Devco, at the intersection of Atlantic, Albany, and Pacific avenues in Atlantic City.
“Stockton is pleased to be recognized for the impact its Atlantic City campus will have on the city, the region and the state,” said Stockton President Harvey Kesselman, who accepted the award on behalf of the university. “Our mission is to provide a high-quality, affordable, accessible education to a diverse population, enabling more college students to stay in New Jersey and more graduates to succeed in their chosen fields. In addition to the proven benefits of having a highly educated workforce available, the construction and then continuous operation of this facility will provide an ongoing economic stimulus as businesses expand to serve our students, faculty and staff, many of whom will live in the city.”
“The university is grateful for this award, which includes many of our partners, such as AC Devco, county and state government, South Jersey Industries, unions and professional contractors, all of us working cooperatively to bring this project to fruition,” Kesselman said.
The Alliance awards program was created to highlight innovative, pioneering and landmark construction initiatives that greatly impact the state’s economy and to honor the businesses and organizations that work together as partners to ensure the project’s success, said Alliance President Philip K. Beachem.
“The Stockton University – Atlantic City Gateway project is a great example of what can be done when organizations work as a team to develop a fantastic project,” Beachem said.
The 6th annual awards ceremony was held Feb. 10 at the Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township, N.J., and highlighted several billion dollars in infrastructure projects and their impact on New Jersey.
The Alliance also recognized these organizations for their work on the project:
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Ben Franklin Seeks Emerging Fintech Companies in Greater Philadelphia for New Accelerator Program, in Partnership with Village Capital
The program will better prepare startups for raising capital and make valuable connections with advisors, mentors, investors, and potential customers in the region’s finance sector
Philadelphia, PA - Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (“Ben Franklin”) is announcing its Call for Companies for its Fintech Accelerator program, in partnership with D.C.-based Village Capital. The deadline to apply is March 10.
The intensive investment readiness program will run from April – June and will focus on Greater Philadelphia’s opportunities in financial services technology innovation by cultivating and assisting early-stage fintech companies. As part of the VilCap Communities program, the Ben Franklin Fintech Accelerator will employ Village Capital’s unique peer review methodology, empowering the entrepreneurs themselves to evaluate each other’s early-stage businesses across nine indicators of investment readiness. Ben Franklin will invest a minimum of $25,000 in each of the two startups chosen by their peers at the end of the accelerator.
Ben Franklin is leveraging its extensive network of regional mentors and advisors, proven ability to coach early stage ventures to first investments, and readiness of capital to invest in promising early stage ventures, to create this 12-week accelerator program. The cohort will consist exclusively of Greater Philadelphia companies focused on fintech innovation, and will connect these companies to Village Capital’s global network of communities.
“Ben Franklin’s mission in Greater Philadelphia is well aligned with Village Capital’s focus on facilitating innovation and entrepreneurship to develop communities,” said RoseAnn B. Rosenthal, President and CEO of Ben Franklin. “Consistent with our support for initiatives like ImpactPHL, Village Capital’s focus on democratizing entrepreneurship, and building the meaningful connections that grow communities, will help bring new national and international resources to companies in our region, and draw new attention to Philadelphia’s burgeoning technology ecosystem. We look forward to hosting a small cohort of entrepreneurs at Ben Franklin, offering them the deepest engagement we can offer, connecting top-flight, nationally recognized curriculum with the generous involvement of Ben’s broad network of investors and other stakeholders.”
Ross Baird, Village Capital's CEO, said, "With the launch of Ben Franklin’s Fintech Accelerator, Village Capital is pleased to build on its long-standing relationship with Philadelphia. We believe the combination of Village Capital’s proven investment readiness programming and unique peer reviewed investment process, coupled with the extensive network of relationships and resources that Ben Franklin and Greater Philadelphia can provide to startups, will provide best-in-class support for fintech entrepreneurs tackling problems in the financial services sector."
Village Capital program participants have raised over $220M in additional capital and have generated, with entrepreneurs who have graduated from its programs, over 11,000 jobs and served over 5.3 million customers. One year after a Village Capital program, alumni companies generated 43% more revenue, created 43% more jobs, and raised 8.6x more investment than a control group.
Throughout the program, participants will receive mentoring from industry experts and potential investors on business model development, customer hypothesis testing, financial modeling, partnership and customer development, and investor engagement. The entrepreneurs will also receive one-on-one time with mentors, industry experts, investors, top local business leaders, and potential customers.
Interested companies can learn more and apply here.
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