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The TOLEDO EXCEL program is designed to stimulate academic success, self-confidence, and social and personal growth in high school students from ethnic and socioeconomic groups underrepresented in institutions of higher education. As part of TOLEDO EXCEL’s fourth-year curriculum, “Human Rights & Global Diversity,” the Partnership for Educational Awareness and Cultural Exchange (PEACE) once again brought together talented and inspired American and South African students for an international educational and cultural exchange.
The PEACE Project is a collaboration between TOLEDO EXCEL, a scholarship incentive program at the University of Toledo, Owens-Illinois, Inc., and The University of Ghana in Accra. It was created in 1994 with the intent fostering relationships between students around the world. As the study continues, new aspects of the project present themselves for investigation.
During this field study, students visited several cities in South Africa and Ghana, West Africa including Durban, Kumasi, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Sharpsville, Accra, Cape Coast and Soweto. They also took part in many activities in Johannesburg, including a visit to the African National Congress, the political party responsible for the dismantling of Apartheid and spending time in a traditional Zulu Village. In Soweto the students visited Orlando West High School, which is known for its student activists. They also visited the University of Cape Town, one of the first public universities to integrate in South Africa.
American, Ghanaian, and South African student participants in previous trips have found the experience to be invaluable to their educational and personal maturation. More than just travelers, these students are active as ethnographers, historians, journalists and teachers learning to investigate, interview, analyze and interpret situations during the field study.
One highlight of the PEACE Project is students’ participation in the development of
a comprehensive document promoting educational development, cultural sensitivity and
peace in our Global Village. Visual and audio records as well as personal journals
from our students are the primary elements in this project. It is hoped that students
will share their experiences and their participation in this program will lead to
further exchanges at the secondary and higher educational levels between the United
States and South Africa.