The final speaker in the 2008-09 Global Speaker Series, Dr. Leoma Gilley ’68, visited GPS on Thursday.
Dr. Gilley, author of the book, Every Day But Not Some: Glimpses into the everyday lives of Sudanese, is the director of the African Area Training Initiative for SIL International.
Based mostly in Khartoum, Sudan, over her 20-plus years as a linguistics consultant, she found that the Sudanese people are helpful and hospitable. “I was a white girl from Tennessee,” she said in describing her first experience in Africa, and “had to come to terms with my racial and cultural biases.”
What she learned, and what she encouraged the students to learn, is “get yourself out of the way” when living in another country. “Put that aside,” she said, “and learn about others’ hopes, dreams, education, and customs.”
Today she develops B.A. and M.A. level courses in linguistics, education, translation, and anthropology for more than 20 African countries. The language-based development that she facilitates has been responsible for improvements in child mortality, health, gender equality and literacy, in addition to greater success in education.