Agya Boakye-Boaten, chair and associate professor of Africana and interdisciplinary and international studies at UNC Asheville, has been awarded a 2019-20 Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant to teach and conduct research in Ghana at the University of Cape Coast. The Fulbright Program, which aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.
Boakye-Boaten’s 10-month project will focus on teaching about Africa in a way that shifts the narrative away from Eurocentric epistemologies, to engaging the study of Africa from critical perspectives and African epistemologies through decolonial thinking and critical analysis of historical and contemporary issues. In the research component of the project, Boakye-Boaten seeks to understand the intersectionalities among culture and traditional practices with child labor and trafficking in Ghana. This research will contribute to the mitigation efforts in combating child labor and child trafficking in Ghana.
“My aim is to understand the role culture plays in child trafficking and child labor, and reasons why the phenomenon continue to exist in the country,” said Boakye-Boaten, who worked as a social worker in Ghana, and has extensively researched and published work on street children in Ghana. “The results of my research will be shared with partner agencies, and be published to contribute to the intellectual discourse on child trafficking and child labor, which are of great concern to many in Ghana and the world in general.”
A native of Ghana, Boakye-Boaten in 2017 was awarded a Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship to a Ghanaian University, the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration to develop their general education curriculum. He is also the program director of UNC Asheville’s “Discover Ghana” faculty-led study abroad program, which received the 2017 Best Practices in International Education Award for Study Abroad Programming from NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. He has developed and led more than 10 of these study abroad trips for more than 150 students in total. In 2018 Boakye-Boaten taught a combined class of undergraduate students from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration and UNC Asheville.
Boakye-Boaten earned a Ph.D. in educational studies, with an emphasis in cultural studies in education; an M.A. in political science (international relations), and an M.A. in international affairs (African studies) all from Ohio University. He also earned his B.A. in social work/administration and political science from the University of Ghana, Legon.