Professor Arlene Maclin, the Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Consortium-Center for Academic Excellence (MAC-CAE), presented AIIS Director-General Purnima Mehta with a special plaque for her extraordinary service to MAC-CAE during its five years of collaboration with AIIS to bring students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities to India in the summer for intensive language instruction and participation in service learning. MAC-CAE students have been participating in the programs, held at the AIIS language centers in Jaipur and Lucknow, since the summer of 2012.
One highlight of the summer 2016 program for ten MAC-CAE students in Jaipur was an overnight field trip to Pushkar and Tilonia in early July.
Puskhkar, one of the oldest cities in India, is one of five sacred dhams (pilgrimage sites for devout Hindus) and is often called Tirth Raj–the king of pilgrimage sites. It lies on the shore of Pushkar Lake.
- Tilonia is the site of the Barefoot College which connects rural communities to solar, water, education, professions and advocacy to help communities and individuals take control of their lives and the wellbeing of their communities. The Barefoot College especially promotes women’s empowerment. The Barefoot College’s Solar Energy Center hosts more than thirty female interns from nine African countries who learn to assemble solar lanterns. After finishing their training, they will go back to their countries to open training centers. The Solar Energy Center also trains people to create solar ovens.
Barefoot College also has a communication center where villagers use traditional media such as puppetry for educational and awareness programs, and a community radio station run by women from rural communities.