July 12, 2011

Summer Institute Participants Learn Indigenous Culture at Altos de Chavón and Cueva de las Maravillas

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Educators deepened their understanding of the theme “Colonial Latin America and its contribution to modern Caribbean identity” on a trip to Altos de Chavón and Cueva de las Maravillas on Wednesday, July 13th with the Summer Institute for Educators program.

The group arrived at Altos de Chavón on the Casa de Campo resort outside of La Romana around 9:30 a.m. and began the day with a tour of the Regional Archeological Museum on the premises.  There, they discovered new techniques for teaching both instructors and students about indigenous history, as well as additional information on the indigenous influence on modern culture.

After the tour, Lenin Paulino Coste, fine artist, anthropologist and art instructor at the Altos de Chavón School of Design, gave an interactive workshop on the roots of Caribbean identity, complete with suggestions of activities to present its themes to students of all age levels.  Then the group ate a “typical” Dominican lunch on the balcony of the Altos’ President’s home overlooking the Chavón River, after which Carmen Lorente, Director of International Programs, gave a tour of the Altos de Chavón art school before the group departed for the Cueva de las Maravillas.

The visit to the caves on the other side of La Romana was an important complement to the morning spent learning about indigenous influence on Caribbean identity, as the caves feature artwork depicting Taino traditions and the arrival of the colonizers.

The relationship between GFDD/FUNGLODE and Altos de Chavón is an important one because it provides GFDD/FUNGLODE with the necessary tools to expose collaborators and international guests to the artistic face of the Dominican Republic.  It also provides those same guests with in-depth resources to explore indigenous themes.

The Summer Institute for Educators is a series of intensive professional development sessions that serve as a continuing educational training tool for in-service and pre-service K-12 and university-level teachers. It is sponsored by Programs in International Education Resources (PIER), The Council on Latin American & Iberian Studies at Yale (CLAIS), the MacMillan Center, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU (CLACS) and the U.S. Department of Education through a Title VI National Resource Center grant.

This program responds to InteRDom and Global Foundation for Democracy and Development’s objective to increase the quality and quantity of Caribbean topics being presented in international classrooms.  The initiative will also serve to fortify InteRDom and GFDD’s commitment to providing networking, exchange and development opportunities to the Dominican Diaspora, as many of the participants in the Summer Institute have expressed their desire to use topics in the field portion to better serve and relate to the Diaspora students that they teach.

The internship program, InteRDom, an initiative of Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE), is the premier internship, research and academic study program in the Dominican Republic. It offers international students the opportunity to research important topics at the forefront of the United Nations agenda, obtain professional experience by interning with Dominican organizations and businesses related to their fields of study and/or earn academic credits by taking courses and seminars at a local university.