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Abstract

As U.S.-based colleges and universities seek to globalize education with experiential learning, the risk of reinforcing assumptions about Western superiority, white supremacy and the “neediness” of “developing” countries increases. This essay discusses the rationale for a program that wrestles with questions of power, communication, and creativity by engaging students from the two U.S. liberal arts colleges (a consortium) and a Ghanaian university in a summer action research project. The program takes place in part on campus in the U.S. and in part in a village in Northern Ghana in partnership with three grassroots educational organizations: a community radio station, an Internet training center, and a non-governmental organization focused on early education. Tracking key words in two languages central to the programs a way to make the different histories in play visible, I argue that the purpose of the work is "lagim tehi tuma" -- Dagbani for “thinking together," to develop not people, countries, or cultures, but knowledge, questions, and relationships. Drawing on Apusigah’s discussion of "tullum," an indigenous, gendered approach to development, I advance a conception of collaboration that accepts limitation, impermanence, and risk as part of sustainability.