Friday, November 29, 2013

‘Lord of the Flies vs. Lost Boys of Sudan’

‘Lord of the Flies vs. Lost Boys of Sudan’
An Exclusive Interview with Jacob Atem, Lost boy & Ph.D. Candidate
By Richard C Close

Golding’s book, Lord of the Flies (which is required reading of millions of youth in the western world), is perhaps the greatest literary lie in western education’s history. Now that a few cages have been rattled, let’s challenge the well established, authoritarian, colonial ideals against the experiential backdrop of one of the real life Lost Boys of the Sudan.

The premise of Lord of the Flies is that when the superior authority is removed, the more primitive nature of man (in this case wealthy boys) will take over with false religion, bullying, power struggles, and finally savagery. Also, keep in mind that this work was written 1952, when South African apartheid was in full swing. This is also written before the Martin Luther King, Jr. American social revolution. The premise of this mindset was that without sound western government authority, we are lost and primitive. But is that really true?

In 1968, 400,000 hippies went to Woodstock, NY for three days of music. The authorities were intimidated by their lack of faith in humans, so they stayed away. The results were: no crimes and two babies. Not to mention that when the U.S. revolted against colonial authority, democracy proved to be the model of the future. If anything, when people rule collaboratively, they seem to have peace. When authority gets too powerful, there is war and chaos.

There is evidence that human nature wants to share and be loved. Let’s reflect on our invention of the global collaborative Internet. Applications like Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia should all be uncensored madness and savage. Yet the reverse is true. Perhaps our true nature is people collaborating with people in a fabric of loving one another that creates peace.  Perhaps the transcendental truth to Lord of the Flies is that it represents more about how colonial power brokers act than about the people they rule.
The second undercurrent of the Lord of the Flies myth is that religions facilitate the separation of power, struggle and persecution.  While there can be some truth to this in radicalized religions, in contrast, armies of peace building individuals maintain long term clinics, schools, orphanages, farms, microeconomics, and leadership training around the world. Major reconciliation and peace efforts by religious people have been achieved in Rwanda, South Africa and the U.S. by extensive Christian values, methods and leaders, not a pig head on a stick.

The evidence that the fictional story of Lord of the Flies is a heinous colonial lie is to be found in the ongoing story of the Lost Boys of Sudan. It is true that the UN did step in to help them after a year of wandering from the 2001 genocide. They buried over 5,000 of their friends and family in a 1,000 mile trek to safety.  However, the real story of the Lost Boys is how they live today, carrying the burdens of genocide, abandonment and institutionalized racism. Without adult leadership, these young children worked collaboratively as a team using Old Testament tribal rules for a year in the wilderness. Enduring unthinkable suffering, they walked with grit, grace and mercy. The story of the Lost Boys ironically endures after the religious and political persecution in Southern Sudan and into the U.S. for a second wave of classism, racism and literacy challenges to succeed. Their ongoing story speaks mountains of human capacity to press on against injustice.

One of the Lost Boys, Jacob Atem, I first met three years ago in a UN Head Quarters Literacy Conference. We sat side by side listening to dignitaries take credit for their global programs. It seems to me it was the boys whose faith and love for one another that took them one more step at a time was to take all the credit. Both of us knew these programs are needed but how one survives abuse from anything run deeper than statistics.  Time and again I meet people traumatized by the horrors of life turn into remarkable souls. How do they do it? It is one thing to provide shelter from the cold, another to heal a shattered heart.

Yes, the funding and the UN program are essential. But the real story of survival transcends any program's glossy brochure. The real story is about how human nature finds meaning and purpose in helping one another.

In 1987, a civil war drove an estimated twenty thousand young boys from their families and villages in Southern Sudan. Eight-year-old Jacob looked around the Gilo River bank. Behind him, bullets rained from AK-47s shot by men in military uniforms. In front of him, crocodiles waited along the bank with open jaws as thousands of young boys ran toward the water.

More than 20,000 boys started walking towards Ethiopia. Most no more than six or seven years old, fled to escape death or life in slavery or induction in the Northern army. They walked a thousand miles through lion and crocodile country, eating mud to stave off thirst and starvation. Wandering for years, half of them died before reaching the Kenyan refugee camp, Kakuma. The survivors of this tragic exodus became known to the world as the “Lost Boys of Sudan (Lost Boys of Sudan).”
Jacob’s tale of personal tragedy and the value of true friendship

“When I was about six years old my parents were killed by Northern Sudanese Arab militias waging war on Southern Sudan. They entered my village killing men and kidnapping the women and children before burning our homes to the ground.  That day, I lost my father and several of my siblings. One of my sisters was carried away and to this day is thought to be a slave to an Arab Sudanese family in the north.”

“But I was lucky.  Early that morning, I had left with my older cousin, Michael, to take our goats and cows to pasture.  When we heard the attack and saw the smoke coming from our burning village, we ran into a nearby forest to hide.  For three days, we remained in the forest alone, scared, and hungry.”
“The northern forces were constantly following us, so we often hid during the day and walked through the dangerous dark of the night.  We were also in danger from the attack of lions.  To protect ourselves when we rested, we made a timetable and decided who would sleep while the other was awake. ”

When we arrived in the U.S., my cousin Michael went to Nevada and I went to Michigan.
For more information see National Geographic Documentary “God Grew Tired of Us.”
The road to becoming a Ph.D. Candidate

Interview Part 2: Institutional Persecution and Individual Angels
On 11th November, Richard Close interviewed Jacob on his experiences within the education systems. Having arrived in the U.S. at age 15, Jacob is now pursuing a PhD at Florida State University.
Q. Did you feel there was a gap between the curriculum and the emotional experiences you had?
Jacob: “Oh, yes, definitely. It was separate. My little education started in Kenya, so when you do the studies there, the system has pros and cons. In Kenya, you do not have a lot of exams. You only have one big exam at the end of the year. When you come to America, there is a test every two weeks, yet you barely speak English. So you are now trying to catch up with English as a Second Language and you are unable to study the rest of the curriculum, because you get bogged down with English as a Second Language.”

“For example, I was 15 when I came to this country, so I was put in grade 9 as a freshman by age and not by the level of my education. In U.S. law, once you are 18, you graduate from high school. But that does not translate well from African society, especially from where we came from. You might be just getting into High School at 18 when you are immigrating to the U.S.”

“This was a challenge for many (Lost Boys of the Sudan). But I was lucky and had a chance to catch up in three years. But now there is a law that a person must have four years of English to graduate in the states. What do you do if you are a refugee at the age of 17? You’re left with only two years to study English! The story was, it was difficult to study.”
 Q: Did the school curriculum deny that the individual is going through any pain or trauma at all. How did the school handle you? Did you get special counselling? Or was it sink or swim?
Jacob: “It was sink or swim. And there was differences in culture getting used to the children in the U.S. here, they did not get it. They may have different trauma (in U.S. like children of alcoholics) like I have, but they do not get it (what Jacob was dealing with).
“For example, I was the only minority in my school, and it was interesting, the words they were using. They are very offensive. 'You are from Africa, you are terrible.' Yeah it was difficult, the kids calling you names. And I think that is where the differences came from.”
“My experience (in the wilderness) wanted to drive me. My experience wanted to educate me, because we used to say in the lost boys that 'education is our mother and father.' The experience I went through made me what I am today.”
“Many people here take education for granted, especially our age, and over there it is opportunity we do not have, that it is a good thing we have in America, were you have the opportunity. You do not have to walk ten miles to a school. Here it is a matter of sitting on a bus on your behind.”

 Q. You had people help you along the way. Tell me about mentoring and people encouraging you?
Jacob. “From my foster family because I was a ward of the state so my foster parents were key. You are right what we have in life we don’t appreciate. Particularly, parents and teachers that take time and listen to you. That is the big difference. I have met from high school to college PhD students that really care personally with you and really put you under their wings to exceed to the next levels. There were a few individual teachers that sat for hours.”

“I feel bad for high school because there is no curriculum that says “Hey this person came from Africa.” This is how we (faculty) are supposed to treat him. No. it is not clear cut. I remember I used to have a lot of questions in class but it became too much. It might be a simple word I want to know, but it seem like everyone in the class knew it because they grew up in this culture. If I asked, people would say “Don’t you know that? We learned it in middle school and elementary school.” I would say “You don’t know my background. I did not have to learn that.”
“So I had to cut back on the questions because I would feel like I am stupid. If I don’t ask then I am not doing justice for myself, not learning (reflective pause).”
‘There were individual teachers who would spend an enormous time after school programs. The program would go from 8 am to 2:30. The teachers would stay because they loved you and care for you there is patience. So people really. I was blessed in high school and college. Even now I have had to change my PhD because I do not have a mentor. How can you do a PhD without a mentor?”
My dear friend Jacob does carry the horror of the past in him however he also carries the love and compassion of many who helped along the way. There are few I can think of that could justify anger toward social injustice more than him. Yet his ability to see how the nature of the human also is to reaches out save and heal one another. This intrinsic nature to love and work together is the real nature of who we areas humans. We have so much to learn of our mother Africa and what our true nature really is.
From Jacob’s interview, it is easy to see how young men of colour are “pushouts” of the educational system. Yet he also highlights the need for caring teachers or mentors to step in and supplement what our industrial “No rich child left behind” curriculums fail to deliver, the human’s nature to love one another.

Richard Close is the developer of the Global Learning Framework, consultant, learning strategist, speaker and author. Currently Jacob is pursuing his PhD in Health Services at the University of Florida.

By Richard Close and Frank Kamau
How to hel Jacob work in Southern Sudan
In 2008, Jacob Atem and Lual Deng founded the Southern Sudan Health Care Organization (SSHCO), a non-profit organisation aimed at establishing a safer Southern Sudan through health care and education. Watch Jacob’s video story at

Currently, SSHCO is a registered Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with the South Sudanese Government and is authorized to operate in Health Services with the Government of South Sudan (GOSS). SSHCO currently has one clinic operating and serving the people of South Sudan in the village of Maar in the state of Jonglie, just north of Bor.

Friday, November 15, 2013

GEC Webinar Diversity, Learning Styles and Project Based Learning Upgrading Classroom Methods for a Global “Personal Learning Framework”

Lecture: Richard C Close, Servant – CEO  Chrysalis Campaign, Inc.

Audience: NGO leaders, Educators, Mentors and Curriculum Developers

Description: Provide simple methods for how to handle Diversity, Learning Styles within Project based Learning Upgrading classroom methods to handle poverty and trauma in the classroom with a global Personal Learning Framework.
Webinar Session Description:

Join here: 
Some place in any country a teacher stands in front of highly diverse class filled with students charged with emotional issues impacting the student’s ability to learn and the teacher's ability to teach. The US teacher must handle a class with five different Learning Styles, multiple special Ed issues, about 50% divorced, 50% with STDS, 9% sexual abuse not to mention 26 million children of alcoholics, racism, bulling and poverty. Combine this with 22% or the class is hungry. Standing at the front of the room she holds an expensive four color curriculum that simple ignores any of this is happening. It Our children do wonderful job masking this abuse, however curriculum can not go on ignoring humanities issues.

We still are looking a common core curriculum in a world that is anything but common. Teachers compensate for this error every day in classrooms across the world.

This research presentation is an attempt to provide easy techniques for handling the issues with learning styles, trauma, poverty, special needs and cultural diversity in the classroom by leveraging Internet resources and Adult Learning methods.  In the presentation I will share techniques of collaborative Project Based Learning in adult homeless centers, Africa and k-12 schools.
This is the third presentation for the Global Learning Conference and will introduce new theories on this generation’s student experience with learning is integrated with the Internet collaboration across the globe. The session will critic the vague expressions pre internet models of Adult Learning with granule ways to create transformative curriculum. We will also model these methods against UNESCO Four Pillars methods and Sig Sigma problem solving models. Our concept is that Adult Learning begins in Junior High and easier to handle than you may imagine.
Presented will be a proposed of an upgraded collaborative view of how we learn as adult and children that will challenge Adult Learning theories called Personal Learning Framework . This Upgrades vision will show the connection between technology and human collaboration along with the reintegration of values education that will strengthen the teacher student relationship and mentor and guide.
Finally we will share simple methods you can introduce into any curriculum to make it human again.
We will end with offering simple methods of collaborative learning with your current curriculum.

More information at:  
Preview Presentation at:

Monday, September 30, 2013

Article to African Women In Arise Magazine, “Technology and the Heart… Women's Health”

Add caption
Article to be published Oct. 2013 Issue: Arise Magazine, UK Africa

Letter to my African Sisters, “Technology and the Heart… Women's Health”

Dear Daughters,
I am writing to you about the health of your hearts and the power you have been given as women. I know life can be a long, hard road of oppression, bad deals and injustice. It is easy to harden your hearts. Have faith, your road is coming to an end. You have been given evolutionary gifts that you are just beginning to understand and leverage. I am writing you to tell you that we see you standing proud and transforming the world, but you can do so much more, so much faster.

You are no longer alone: For over 50,000 years, men have held women in isolation to control them.
Today, the device in your hand empowers you to connect with every man, woman and child in the world. From your phone, you have medical access from all the universities in the world. Sites like will empower you with all you need to know about your bodies. Your voice can reach the globe on social injustice. In a moment, you can reach neighbors, families, groups or militia. Free of charge, the world will educate you from top universities and set you free. All you have to do is “Seek and you will find.” Sound familiar? 

ARISE is published quarterly and sold in over 20 countries. It has established itself as a mainstream magazine for modern Africans, African-Americans and the diaspora, and through its newly relaunched website, Facebook and Twitter pages, ARISE continues to build a global community.
ARISE had its successful soft launch in October 2008 and hit newsstands in February 2009, coinciding with the debut ARISE African Fashion Collective show at NYFW. It went on to win Launch Of The Year at the APA International Customer Publishing Awards 2009 and took Highly Commended in the same category at the British Society of Magazine Editors Awards.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Article Human Collaboration the Peoples Revolution of a Global Learning Framework by Richard C. Close

Article Global Education Magazine
Issue 5 Pages 44 - 51


While traditional classrooms wade through indexed text books chapter by chapter in order to pass Friday’s test, a torrent of knowledge is streaming past and through the students on their cell phones. While the teacher at the head of class has a one way channel of dumping facts into empty buckets, billions of people outside the classroom walls are exchanging terabits of fluid knowledge in collaborative communities.” This paper discusses how humans have evolved technology to a point where Internet learning has bypassed academia, this is the revolution. It then discusses practical methods for integrating global learning within classroom academics.

This visionary and disruptive paper proposes an ugraded set of global education theories and practical methods of how educators and NGO can leverage the content and collaborations. Digging deeper into contemporary theories about technical collaboration the article highlights the role of human context that is managing internet content. The Global Learning Framework™ illustrates how human experience and local values collaborate with the global knowledge base. The paper covers how and why global learning via Internet appliances is bypassing our industrial curriculum models. This paper is a subset of the paper “Human Collaboration the Peoples Revolution of a Global Learning Framework available with references at
In the same way that dictators are waking up to flash protests and are shocked at how an entire nation can overthrow an authoritarian trickle down knowledge structure in days, global collaborative learning is overthrowing traditional academic classrooms and page turning eLearning programs. Educators need to take notice that the same revolution of human-technology is taking place with students that have challenged the relevance of learning-in-a-vacuum facts that are dysfunctional with our youth’s reality as a global collaborative.

The entrenchment of colonial/industrial education is when an authoritarian group imparts their knowledge down with curriculum textbooks into the working classes/cultures. While at the same time, democracy in education has the masses fully empowered to explore, create and share knowledge on equal footing between students, the same way billions of people typically use the Web today. The disconnectedness between these two approaches of learning is vast, wide and now becoming antagonistic.

In addition, the argument that the digital divide is because affluence can afford technology and the poor cannot is now growing weaker, because the barriers to cell and PC access are fading. It is only about access and soon everyone will have it. This will happen as the cell phone bypasses the PC as a personal network appliance.

Full white paper with references available at                                                                                                                                                                                                           

         This article illustrates the need for new strategies for the expansion of global education and Telco organizations in order to accelerate the development of villages throughout the world. We need a massive upgrade to our approach, because it is the human instinct to learn collaboratively that will drive this growth into a profitable reality not just by technology itself. 

Who is in control of knowledge

I watch these videos at the beginning of the Leaning Styles course and perhaps see them in a different perspective now. What still remains is a lack of understanding in of the theorists on the deeper dynamics of poverty / trauma in a Adult Learner’s life and how that impacts learning methods. In addition human culture is mentioned in passing However a clear understanding on how each culture views learning as different and how personal experience impacts learning is simply brushed over. Adult Children of Alcoholics or abuse adults have many issues that impact Adult Learning theory and methods. Yes Cunningham is right in that we have to deconstruct social injustice however we need to replace it with empowerment of individual by deconstructing negative values and reconstructing with positive and productive ones.
Knowledge is a fact wrapped in a community of context. Knowledge is quantitative (factual) and qualitative wrapped in culture and experience. A peach is a quantitative fact if I like to eat a peach is a qualitative context. Context is what makes a fact or object relevant to someone personal experience. Someone may love peaches but not eat anything a Jew offered to them. Context is complex and difficult to test. Although both Cunningham and Mezirow (1997) mention social impact they provide little of any detail of culture value systems. Yet the adult educators or urban social workers are forced to deal with the individual values from a life of abuse.
Case in point: in my surveys of Community Learning Centers both here and Africa. Require that the student feel “Safe” both physically and emotionally. Once this takes place learning can begin. Safety is an entitlement concept of the college student. Therefore it is not on radar screen of a college level research project or Adult Learning methods. To a young urban girl in the hood, high grades will be a source of ridicule pain not success, it is not safe to smart. Her value system are the reverse of a college student in Kolb’s (1975) research.
On Power
In Mezirow, J Video He states a key issue on the purpose of Adult Learning and its twin sister Public Media. That. “We are trapped by our frameworks of reality. We can control this, we can change this.” On the issue of power and knowledge the big question is exactly who is “we,” on who is to be in control? If we are working the Adult Learning fields of government, corporations, military and corporate compliance then it is the institution that is the “we” in control with learning for compliance/process sake. On the other hand if we are delivering Adult Learning to the public sector, community outreach, literacy, urban or foreign development then the “We” in control is the empowered the individual with greater resources to facts, decision making, values and social empowerment.
Yet, if we are in K-12 or Higher Ed we are stuck in between authoritarian control through testing and individual empowerment through great cognitive decision making and character development. With Internet digital democracy of public learning the “we” is global communities of interest. Digital democracy being perhaps the dream of Dewey (1916) and Friere (1993)
In the case of media we also have disinformation as power in the case of Fox news who’s listeners full believe it is “fair and objective” when the rest of the world news services clear see it as NRC propaganda. Context is very relative.
So the question of power is who cuts your paycheck and who do you conform to. Perhaps we should have a dialog about the abuse of Knowledge out of context is an abuse or power.
Close, R. (2013). Global Education Magazine. Issue 5 Page 44 to 55 from
Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education. New York: The MacMillan Company.
FREIRE, P. (1993) Pedagogy of the Oppressed (New York, Continuum).

Kolb, D. A. & Fry, R. (1975). Toward an applied theory of experiential learning. In C. Cooper (Ed.) Theories of Group Process, London: John Wiley.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Letter to my African Sisters, “Technology and the Heart… Women's Health”

I have been following Nancy’s and WOUGNET’s Uganda blogs for some time now, often stopping my work for a prayer and tears. It is a great honor to write in this Arise magazine of innovation and style. My mother, now 94, was a tough feminist before her time, raising three boys while my father was on the road. She taught full time while getting her Master's in Education at Columbia University in New York City. I still have memories of her on her bed, sandwich in hand, with books and papers long after the nightly chores were done. Later, when raising my own daughter, Maya, I would drop her off at elementary school each morning telling her “Get straight A’s, go to a good school and change the world.” In my family, learning is everything. Today, Maya is a special needs teacher in Brooklyn, NY. This being said, I ponder what a visionary strategist in learning technology could offer to my sisters in Africa. My life has been filled with riots in Kenya’s Rift Valley, the oppression of multinational factories, and the tears of beaten homeless women in the U.S. along  with a Brooklyn church with races from all over the world. I cannot write another dry white paper, so here is a letter from an old father to his daughters about the gift of the global power you have yet to fully realize.

Dear Daughters,

I am writing to you about the health of your hearts and the power you have been given as women. I know life can be a long, hard road of oppression, bad deals and injustice. It is easy to harden your hearts. Have faith, your road is coming to an end. You have been given evolutionary gifts that you are just beginning to understand and leverage. I am writing you to tell you that we see you standing proud and transforming the world, but you can do so much more, so much faster. This generation has been blessed with a unity and strength that transcends the globe, but you must accept the gift technology brings, lock arms and use it. This magazine is just a taste of what could be a truly wondrous world for your children.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Below is a Link to a 20 page white paper I developed as a labor of love (no charge download at for my many friends in Africa and colleagues in academia. As one of my Linkedin contacts thought you might like a copy. The paper is filled with strategic and marketing tips to help expand the Internet’s global education reach. Teacher and community leaders need greater access to the Internet but also need the Teleco’s to partner with them on how to leverage the Internet’s content and collaborative resources.  We invite you to share this link with fellow government, education and ICT leaders.

“Human Collaboration,
Africa’s Revolutionary Application for Broad Band Expansion”

This unique paper evolved from a diner with New York City university professors and lawyers having a discussion about the issues around deploying broad band and Internet technology in Africa and developing countries. Because of my work in developing the Global Learning Framework and channel programs of Novell and Microsoft, these leader challenged me to place my views on paper.

The paper outlines how “Human Collaboration” is the killer application for Internet and that if the Teleco’s fully grasp that we can work together in our marketing and infrastructure programs in such a way that it grows the African (and other continent’s) infrastructure as a whole. My US perspective on this comes from building NYC first Technology Center, ICT education program and research on education, Internet learning and poverty.

In that I was once a marketing manager for MCI International I invite you to explore this paper with an open heart. It is written as a fun radical read, you will not be bored. We then urge you to reflect on your marketing and channel programs. Ray Norda’ concept of co-opitition transformed the global LAN market along with corporate culture forever. From our UNESCO workshops in Africa it is apparent that we are at the beginning of something truly remarkable. Our opportunity for radical growth is way beyond what our traditional forecast models can reflect.

Grab a coffee or tea and enjoy the read. Share with friends. Please provide me with views.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

eLearning course Launched "Global Learning Framework, Diversity, Project Based Learning and the Internet"

Time: July 28, 2013 to August 31, 2013
Est. Time: 45 minutes
Take Free Course:
Organized By: Richard Close
Event Description:
Dear Linkedin and Twitter Colleagues
We are completing a three part series on the Theories and Methods for the Global Learning Framework over the month of August. This is the first part on the Personal Learning Framework that provides practical experiences on how and individual learns and transforms the world while using global collaborative Internet.

The next two eLearning courses in the series are on leverage the simple methods in the classroom and for country's community development programs.
Global Learning Framework expands Adult Learning theories and integrates global technology learning, cell collaboration with the issues of poverty.  This eLearning course is targeted on how Learning Styles /diversity and personalities work together in Project Based Learning to solve life’s problems.

This was developed as professional services training for educators, mentors and NGO leaders. Contained within the course are two assessments for educator on Learning Styles and Meyers Briggs. It will provide educators with a way to empower students with how they learn and communicate with the world based on their strengths. PLF also provides a simple classroom usable model for personal transformation designed to work with UNESCO Four Pillars, Experiential Learning and Project Based Learning. This is also design for poverty and deep cultural settings.

The is no fee to this 45 minute eLearning course only that we ask for feedback and thought upon completion at For your convenience you can join using your Linkedin or Twitter account. You are welcome to refer this course to others.

Learning Style and the Personal Learning Framework by Richard C Close

This course is fully copyright of Richard Close. Use in classrooms or workshops can be requested of the the author at

Global Learning Framework and Personal Learning Framework are the trademark of Richard C. Close

Friday, April 19, 2013

UN Youth Media Visions Mightybell Collaborative Envirionment

While sitting on on the UN Youth Media Visions conference in Columbia Teachers College in New York City
I placed all the youth video project speakers into on collaborative environment.
There are hundred of best example of youth videos form around the world in this site.
Join: UN Youth Media Visions