“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela.
As an educator of future teachers, Associate Professor Dolana Mogadime finds profound meaning in the words of the late South African anti-apartheid revolutionary.
In fact, she uses his book Mandela’s Way: Lessons on life, love and courage in her classroom at Brock University.
“It helps us to think through our own ways of teaching,” she says.
An important aspect of her instruction is working to understand differences and how they impact a person’s experience.
Mogadime is a member of Brock’s Racial Climate Task Force and the program director of the upcoming White Privilege Symposium being held at Brock Sept. 30-Oct. 1.
Throughout her career, Mogadime has explored issues of race and in particular the lack of representation of Black women in academia.
This year’s symposium, the first-ever held in Canada, has the theme “Academics & Activists: Advocating for Equity, Justice and Action.”
Mogadime says the conference aims to shed light on white privilege for academics, educators, professionals and community groups concerned about the wellbeing of diverse groups living, working and studying in Niagara and the GTA. She says it’s a chance to network and coalition build around eradicating white supremacy, white privilege and racial oppression.
She says discussions about white privilege and diversity are important, especially on a university campus.
“It’s a chance for us to really reimagine ourselves differently than we have been,” she says.
Eddie Moore, Jr., founder of the international White Privilege Conference, called Brock a “leader” in Canada for recognizing the importance of the subject matter and having the “courage” to bring together people working across privilege, race and borders.
“Brock is a leading university across the world that is willing to explore some really difficult issues and go beyond Diversity 101 and really look at diversity, power, privilege and leadership,” he says.
Moore says the speakers at the symposium aren’t just giving a talk, they will be engaging the participants and challenging them with action items and ideas.
“It’s so imperative to have educators involved in this discussion because we truly have the ability to impact the future of the world,” he says.
Mogadime says the symposium at Brock will cover a wide variety of perspectives related to white privilege, hearing from a diverse cross section of people including First Nations, Muslims, women and the LGBTQ community.
The topics are not only important for educators, but also for students, she says.
“If they can see the relevance of this, it will create an openness,” she says. “It’s an understanding we need to have in order to live in society. I really do believe in the notion of change from within.”
Mogadime penned a report on the symposium and how it will be an educational forum for action and change, which can be found here.
Anyone interested in attending the conference, or to find out more, visit www.wpsc.ca
The following is the schedule for Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.
*Schedule is subject to change.