Professional Travels

Introduction

  • Part of my identity is grounded in the women, men, and children who I meet abroad.  I have been fortunate to travel internationally 25 times between 2007 and 2018, with several other trips taken before that time and after that time. The following are excerpts about my travels abroad in blue type with website content [direct quotes] about each country in black type.

Ethiopia

Elon Simms, Jacquelyn Meshelemiah,  and Dean Gregoire in Ethiopia

I have been to Ethiopia three times to work with faculty and staff at the University of Gondar. During one of my trips in 2013, I co-directed a study abroad with the College of Nursing under the One Health Institute collaboration.  I later served as a visiting scholar in 2015 whereby I taught a course on Human Behavior and the Social Environment to Master of Social Work students.

Ethiopia is a very “quiet” country to me. The people seem quiet and reserved and friendly and kind–all at the same time. I now have lifelong friends in Ethiopia.

~J. Meshelemiah

History
Unique among African countries, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule with the exception of a short-lived Italian occupation from 1936-41.
The World Factbook, CIA

The Kingdom of Aksum (Ge’ez: መንግስቲ ኣኽሱም), also known as the Kingdom of Axum or the Aksumite Empire, was an ancient kingdom centered in what is now Eritrea and the Tigray Region of northern Ethiopia.[2][3] Axumite Emperors were powerful sovereigns, styling themselves King of kings, king of Aksum, Himyar, Raydan, Saba, Salhen, Tsiyamo, Beja and of Kush.[4] Ruled by the Aksumites, it existed from approximately 100 AD to 940 AD.
Wikipedia

Ghana

Ghana is the first African country that I  visited. I went there for the first time in 2007 as a co-director of a study abroad.  I have since returned 10 times over the years. I love this country and its people. My heart belongs to Ghana. The souls of my ancestors were surely tested  and burdened when they departed from the “Door of no Return”.

~J. Meshelemiah

History
Formed from the merger of the British colony of the Gold Coast and the Togoland trust territory, Ghana in 1957 became the first sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain its independence.
The World Factbook, CIA

The Ashanti Empire (Twi: Asanteman) was an Akan empire and kingdom from 1670 to 1957 in what is now modern-day Ghana. It expanded from Ashanti to include the Brong-Ahafo Region, Central Region, Eastern Region, Greater Accra Region and Western Region of present-day Ghana.
Wikipedia

Sri Lanka

I visited Sri Lanka in 2017 after meeting a naval officer in my online Coursera course, Human Trafficking, in 2014. Both he and his wife are naval officers who generously shared their expertise with me about the navy’s role in saving lives–especially of those who attempt to travel dangerous waters in rickety vessels in hopes of a better life in the Gulf states.

~J. Meshelemiah

History
The first Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C., probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced circa 250 B.C., and the first kingdoms developed at the cities of Anuradhapura (from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000) and Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200). In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty established a Tamil kingdom in northern Sri Lanka.
The World Factbook, CIA

Malta

I traveled to Malta wanting to understand smuggling, emergency rescues of migrants, and labor trafficking. I was unable, however, to meet anyone who had an understanding of these activities. 

~J. Meshelemiah

History
With a civilization that dates back thousands of years, Malta boasts some of the oldest megalithic sites in the world. Situated in the center of the Mediterranean, Malta’s islands have long served as a strategic military asset, with the islands at various times having come under control of the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Moors, Normans, Sicilians, Spanish, Knights of St. John, and the French.
The World Factbook, CIA

Costa Rica

During my human rights trip to Costa Rica, I traveled for eight hours by bus, a boat carved out of a log, and the backup of a pick-up truck to meet some Indigenous community members.  Despite having so little, they made our group a gourmet meal that was the tastiest of all the meals during my trip.  They reminded me of the beauty and kindness of strangers who are not really strangers.

~J. Meshelemiah

History
Although explored by the Spanish early in the 16th century, initial attempts at colonizing Costa Rica proved unsuccessful due to a combination of factors, including disease from mosquito-infested swamps, brutal heat, resistance by natives, and pirate raids. It was not until 1563 that a permanent settlement of Cartago was established in the cooler, fertile central highlands. The area remained a colony for some two and a half centuries..
The World Factbook, CIA

Uganda

Ugandan sculptor Lilian Nabulime

I traveled to Kampala, Uganda to present at the International Consortium on Social Development in 2013. I learned about the history and challenges in Uganda.  Some of the challenges were difficult to learn about, but they were necessary. As for history, it is hard to get away from.

~J. Meshelemiah

History
The colonial boundaries created by Britain to delimit Uganda grouped together a wide range of ethnic groups with different political systems and cultures. These differences complicated the establishment of a working political community after independence was achieved in 1962.
The World Factbook, CIA

Paleolithic evidence of human activity in Uganda goes back to at least 50,000 years, and perhaps as far as 100,000 years, as shown by the Acheulean stone tools recovered from the former environs of Lake Victoria, which were exposed along the Kagera River valley, chiefly around Nsonezi.[1] Rock art in Uganda, particularly in the eastern part of the country, attests to occupation during the Later Stone Age as well.
Wikipedia

 

Portugal

In October 2018, the Prime Minister of Portugal, António Luís Santos da Costa, walked right past me like a stranger on the street.  No security forces.  No entourage.  No limousines –just the Prime Minister and his colleague walking down the street right at sunset.  Make no mistake, his appearance was statuesque and his clothing were of fine cloth.  I immediately knew that he was a distinguished gentleman. I was shocked, however, that he was the Prime Minister given he was blending in as a civilian.

As for my three trips to Portugal as a Visiting Scholar in 2016, 2017, and 2018, I had the pleasure of working with students from around the world who were enrolled in a two year Master of Social Work (MSW) program at the Instituto Universitario de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL). Claudia Pereria  directed this initiative and made each one of my trips memorable, interesting and productive.

~J. Meshelemiah

History
Following its heyday as a global maritime power during the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal lost much of its wealth and status with the destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake, occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the independence of Brazil, its wealthiest colony, in 1822. A 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy, and for most of the next six decades, repressive governments ran the country. In 1974, a left-wing military coup installed broad democratic reforms. The following year, Portugal granted independence to all of its African colonies. Portugal is a founding member of NATO and entered the EC (now the EU) in 1986.
The World Factbook, CIA

Canada

I traveled to Canada several times starting back in the 1990s, but my most poignant trip was the one in 1996 when I went there to interview women who worked as strip dancers in advance of commencing my research project on prostitution.  Please know that strip dancing is not just strip dancing in many instances. There’s way more to this line of “dancing”.

~J. Meshelemiah

History 
A land of vast distances and rich natural resources, Canada became a self-governing dominion in 1867, while retaining ties to the British crown. Canada repatriated its constitution from the UK in 1982, severing a final colonial tie. Economically and technologically, the nation has developed in parallel with the US, its neighbor to the south across the world’s longest international border. Canada faces the political challenges of meeting public demands for quality improvements in health care, education, social services, and economic competitiveness, as well as responding to the particular concerns of predominantly francophone Quebec. Canada also aims to develop its diverse energy resources while maintaining its commitment to the environment.
The World Factbook, CIA

Mexico

Within minutes of literally walking over  the border into Juarez, Mexico, I knew that I was in a different country–so close and so far from the United States of America. As I reflect on my nervousness and the child who was trying to sell me goods, I understood completely what colonization does to a country, an economy, and the people. Economic disparities are real.

~J. Meshelemiah

History
The site of several advanced Amerindian civilizations – including the Olmec, Toltec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec, Maya, and Aztec – Mexico was conquered and colonized by Spain in the early 16th century. Administered as the Viceroyalty of New Spain for three centuries, it achieved independence early in the 19th century.
The World Factbook, CIA

United States

I tell students that it is not necessary to leave the USA in order to experience diversity and something different. Try the 88 counties in Ohio instead.  Try the other 49 states outside of Ohio.  Try Puerto Rico. By all means, please get out and see what’s out there.

As of November 2019, I have traveled to 35 U.S. states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and there is a lot to see. Please don’t take my word for it–go see for yourself–the U.S. is a really big country to travel around.

~J. Meshelemiah

History
Britain’s American colonies broke with the mother country in 1776 and were recognized as the new nation of the United States of America following the Treaty of Paris in 1783. During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions. The two most traumatic experiences in the nation’s history were the Civil War (1861-65), in which a northern Union of states defeated a secessionist Confederacy of 11 southern slave states, and the Great Depression of the 1930s, an economic downturn during which about a quarter of the labor force lost its jobs. Buoyed by victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the US remains the world’s most powerful nation state. Since the end of World War II, the economy has achieved relatively steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid advances in technology.
The World Factbook, CIA

United Kingdom

I have been to the UK twice. Please visit this place.  You will develop an understanding of the world–after taking a few tours of this region.

~J. Meshelemiah

History
The United Kingdom has historically played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. At its zenith in the 19th century, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth’s surface. The first half of the 20th century saw the UK’s strength seriously depleted in two world wars and the Irish Republic’s withdrawal from the union.
The World Factbook, CIA

Cuba

Cuban sculptor and professor Rafael San Juan celebrates the spirit of Cuban women in Primavera.

I visited Cuba in July 2018.  I believe that I gained 5 pounds in 7 days.  Some of the best food in the world is right there in Cuba. And the people…kind, beautiful, friendly, and Spanish speaking.  Oh, how I will remember those smiling faces.

I was totally unplugged for the seven days that I was there and I was grateful.

~J. Meshelemiah

History
The native Amerindian population of Cuba began to decline after the European discovery of the island by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1492 and following its development as a Spanish colony during the next several centuries. Large numbers of African slaves were imported to work the coffee and sugar plantations, and Havana became the launching point for the annual treasure fleets bound for Spain from Mexico and Peru. Spanish rule eventually provoked an independence movement and occasional rebellions that were harshly suppressed.
The World Factbook, CIA

Cuba’s earliest known human inhabitants colonized the island in the 4th millennium BC.[11] The oldest known Cuban archeological site, Levisa, dates from approximately 3100 BC.[12] A wider distribution of sites date from after 2000 BC, most notably represented by the Cayo Redondo and Guayabo Blanco cultures of western Cuba. These neolithic cultures utilised ground stone and shell tools and ornaments, including the dagger-like gladiolitos, which are believed to have had a ceremonial role.[13] The Cayo Redondo and Guayabo Blanco cultures lived a subsistence lifestyle based on fishing, hunting and collecting wild plants.[13]
Wikipedia

 March 25th marks the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Watch how the contribution of African heritage has influenced the music of Cuba.

The World Factbook 

The World Factbook provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities. Our Reference tab includes: maps of the major world regions, as well as Flags of the World, a Physical Map of the World, a Political Map of the World, a World Oceans map, and a Standard Time Zones of the World map.
The World Factbook, CIA