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Have you seen the Africa for Norway video?

Posted By Page Schindler Buchanan, Thursday, November 29, 2012

 Page Schindler BuchananHave you seen the latest international development meme – a satirical video that calls attention to the negative stereotypes that run rampant in well-meaning development appeals? It’s called "Africa for Norway” and it features young Africans singing and collecting radiators to help the people of Norway handle the cold. (check it out below)

I watched it. I laughed. And then I started thinking. Specifically, I starting thinking about how it’s not just the videos and news coverage that are stereotyping Africans, it’s often aid groups themselves that don’t see the people they are helping as part of the solution.

It’s one of the reasons I am so proud to be working for the Global Business School Network. GBSN’s core concept is that Africa and other developing nations can and are building their economies and raising the standard of living. Our model brings people together from "developed” and "developing” nations to strengthen management education for the developing world. And we very quickly learned that the expertise and knowledge didn’t just go one way when we brought educators together. Cross-border collaboration benefits everyone in the equation. As I watched the Africans in the video collecting radiators for their poor neighbors to the north I could not help thinking about the many lessons that developing world schools in our network have brought to the table.

I love that the goal of GBSN is to build local capacity to develop native talent, instead of continuing the unsustainable practice of importing managers and relying on foreign universities to train young leaders abroad. Our work is truly helping to ensure a brighter future for all. Through GBSN developing countries can build and institutionalize the tools they need to prepare their people to build businesses, deliver services and run agencies. Instead of focusing on the poverty, GBSN focuses on the rampant opportunity, energy and aptitude in the developing world.

Watching this video brought into focus for me exactly why GBSN is thriving after nearly a decade. It’s because it approaches international development from a perspective of abundance instead of one of poverty. I’m so excited to come together with all of our network members and partners next June in Tunisia to explore how we can go even further to build employment and entrepreneurship opportunity through management education.

Page Schindler Buchanan is the Communications and Media Officer for GBSN.

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