Volunteering Abroad: A Discussion on the Roles of Development

An invitation from Marina King ’16, student coordinator for the Wesleyan chapter of Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO):

Is all help actually helpful? Is it possible to volunteer abroad without changing one’s profile picture to an image of one surrounded awkwardly by a BUNCH of children? Does aid BENEFIT a community, or does it more nefariously work within the neocolonial system to keep that community oppressed? WHAT is “voluntourism”?

“Voluntourism” is the practice of paying to go abroad and volunteer with a non-profit organization. As for the other questions, SHOFCO-Wes is working on the answers.

Come through to talk about issues concerning volunteers abroad, western perceptions of development, and more in an engaging and informal environment. Professors, recent alumni, and current students will be there to discuss the inherent problems and possible solutions to these hot button topics. We’ll be looking at sociological, governmental, historical, and personal perspectives. Please stop by for a great and informative event!

Some of our distinguished attendees include:

– Professor Robyn Autry, Assistant Professor of Sociology
– Professor Laura Twagira, Assistant Professor of History, Head of the African Studies Cluster , and alumna of the Peace Corps in Mali, where she participated in the Peace Corps Mali Gender and Development Committee
– Professor Michael Nelson, Assistant Professor of Government, alumnus of the Peace Corps
– Professor Robert Rosenthal, John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, Director of Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, former Board Member of SHOFCO
– Alix Haber ’11, former SHOFCO Summer Institute fellow currently working for the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C.

The discussion will take place on Thursday, April 16 at 4:15 PM in 41 WYllys, Room 115. Pre-frosh are welcome. Click here for the Facebook event page.