Program Mission

“From the start, Lagim Tehi Tuma has always been about widening, and, sometimes, shattering, the lens from which we view ourselves and others, and much of that work can only be done in continuing dialogue and actions around race, class, power, and community. I have had the privilege to play many roles in this project over the years and what keeps my heart invested is its unwavering commitment and desire to adapt to the needs and wants of all communities involved. To me, Lagim Tehi Tuma is not a summer trip, but an exemplary lifetime project of international community building.”

— Esteniolla Maitre, BMC ’14

Learning and Unlearning, Thinking and Rethinking

Lagim Tehi Tuma (“Thinking Together” in Dagbani), is a Bi-Co fellowship with the community of Dalun, Ghana that combines intensive team-building, collaborative study, and education-focused projects to foster dialogue through which participants think together about culture, power, history, and learning.  This process entails engagement with questions of race, class, gender, and other dimensions of identity; of colonialism, nationality, and postcoloniality; and of the discourses of development, postdevelopment and indigeneity.  This program approaches community-based work from multiple centers: American and Ghanaian, academic and community-based, English and Dagbani, formal and informal contexts of learning and teaching.

Led by Professor Alice Lesnick and Dalun- and BiCo-based Coordinators, and in collaboration with the University of Development Studies in Tamale, students and community mentors work on small, temporary projects in initiatives already underway in Dalun.  The goal is through shared work and study to think together such that all parties gain awareness and new questions, which often entails unlearning received knowledge and shifting received frameworks for understanding as these are part of the issues in focus.


Fellows engage in a 2-week intensive study at Bryn Mawr, then travel to Dalun for 7 weeks continued study, action research, Dagbani language lessons, reflection (group and individual), and  experiences. At the end, the group spends one week  of continued learning, debriefing, report writing, and planning in Dalun, with mentors.  All fellows commit to all pre-departure and post-travel  programming hosted by CPGC and LILAC as well as to taking one of a set of recommended courses (or proposing one in its place) in order to continue and deepen their learning.

What the Program is Not (or what it’s  trying  not to be)

  • Voluntourism
      • A growing industry of tourism in which travellers participate in volunteer work (Zakaria, 2014)
  • Helping/Saving/Fixing/Imposing
    • The ‘white savior complex’ is a “perception that white folk have that they are the benevolent benefactors of helpless ‘others.’” (Fruit, 2011)
  • Knowing — “speaking about”
    • “I’ve always felt that it is impossible to engage properly with a place or a person without engaging with all of the stories of that place and that person” (Adichie, 2009).

Click here for the link to the Fellowships Handbook


Thinking Together — a Summer Action Research Fellowship in Northern Ghana and Pennsylvania, USA