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Global Community Cultural Exchange (GCCE)

 Connect. Reflect. Transform 

The People’s Conservatory Global Community Cultural Exchange was created to provide developing artists-activists with opportunities to explore their own identities through the cultural treasures of the African and Afro-Latino diaspora and our collective history. Each year TPC selects 8-10 students from East Bay middle schools to connect with fellow youth artists-activists in Cienfuegos, Cuba every August; reflect on the richness of Afro-Cuban music, art, dance, religion and language; and transform their sense of identity and responsibility as global citizens.

The GCCE is a community-focused, interdisciplinary, integrated arts program that promotes self-awareness, critical empathy and activism across various social issues. Our middle school aged participants are encouraged to engage in counter-narrative storytelling, service learning and the arts through a series of workshops and activities that focus on social, cultural and political diasporic histories and current social issues. This is not a study abroad program, it is a HOMECOMING. Moreover, because our young Black and Brown youth often lack access to programs such as these TPC provides full scholarships to each student that is chosen to participate. Future Homecoming trips will include Bahia, Brasil; Oaxaca, Mexico; Cartagena, Colombia; and New Zealand. Support GCCE and help us to provide our tuition free program: donate now.


To enable youth from diverse backgrounds to build solidarity through the arts and participate in community service learning while increasing awareness of the interconnectedness of their diasporic experiences. Participants will investigate social issues impacting underserved communities throughout the African diaspora and work together to create solutions.


Cultivating 21st century global citizens to think critically, develop cultural competencies and social awareness, and serve as agents of change.

Dance Exchange: Students will learn salsa, mambo, rhumba, danzon, and yoruba dances with Cuban dance instructors and students, and modern, jazz, breakdancing, and hip hop dance with American teachers. The week long arts exchange culminates in a celebration of indigenous Cuban dances and African American dances. The larger vision is that our young people will learn to collaborate, discourse through movement, and share in an effort to build bridges and deepen their understanding of a shared Pan-African and Diasporic histories and culture.

Language Exchange: The goal of the language exchange is to promote intercultural communication and cross-cultural understanding between American and Cuban students. American students will receive direct instruction in Spanish and Cuban students will receive direct instruction in English from a bilingual language instructor. Students will learn arts-related vocabulary, idiomatic expressions, and basic grammar.

Arts Cultural Exchange: The purpose of the visual arts cultural exchange is to provide opportunities for students to investigate their personal stories and histories and utilize counter-narrative storytelling strategies and visual arts mediums to expand conceptions of home, communities, and the diaspora. These cultural dialogue and arts exchanges challenge students ability to to understand the relationship between their self-identities and identity politics and cultural representation and power.

Intercultural Arts Exchange Project: This project is comprised of a series educational workshops and arts activities that are based students identities, diasporic histories and communities. These explorations are exchanges between Yoruban, Rhumba, Danzon and Modern Contemporary, Hip-Hop and Black American dance forms. In culmination, this project will give students the opportunity to utilize these styles and frameworks to collaborate and develop their own original dance compositions which will then be performed for the community.

Daily Schedule

7:30am -- Breakfast

8:30-9:15am -- Yoruba history

9:30-10:15am -- Spanish/English language breakouts

10:15-10:45am -- Break/snack

10:45-11:30am -- Exploring The Self Through Stories and Art

11:30-12:00 -- Youth led community building

12:00-1:00pm -- Community lunch

1:00-3:00pm -- Cuban dance (Orisha, Rhumba, Danzon)

3:00-3:30pm -- Break/snack

3:30-5:30pm -- African American dance (Breakdance, Modern Jazz, Hip Hop)

5:30-6:30pm -- Youth led dance composition breakouts

7:00-8:00pm -- Dinner

8:00-9:00pm -- Student Free time/ Staff Debrief


GCCE Partners


Ron E. Miles is a Modern Language Professor and Curriculum Specialist who fosters cross-cultural learning, social justice and tolerance for diversity.  For nearly two decades he has served South Florida's public and private schools as a volunteer, preK-12 classroom teacher, college lecturer, curriculum leader, education consultant and school principal.  Currently, he commutes to Leogane, Haiti where he is developing an ESL program for graduate and undergraduate nursing students. His qualifications include an Education Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction, a Master of Science degree in International and Intercultural Education, and a graduate certificate in African-New World Studies each from Florida International University in Miami, Florida.  Ron E. also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish Literature and Language from Columbia University in New York City. Currently, as a Ph.D. candidate in Curriculum and Instruction, Ron E. investigates the intersections between Language, Literacy, and Culture and analyzes the pedagogical implications for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) including Speakers of various Social Dialects and Vernaculars.Moreover, Ron E. loves to dance, choreograph, act, model, travel, cook, compete in triathlons, and speak “Ebonics”, English, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese with his friends, colleagues and students just for fun or to facilitate learning.


Kurt Kaaekuahiwi is currently serving at Roses In Concrete Community middle school (MS) in East Oakland, Ca. He has been working there over the last two years as a lead teacher developing MS program pillars and programming that focuses on design/making, arts-integration, dual-language immersion and STEAM. Our vision- We believe all students are creators. At Roses, we strive to build curious, human centered, community-minded creators who exercise critical empathy to humanize themselves and others and thus, build socially just and equitable communities. Mission- We are committed to building student agency through an interdisciplinary approach that integrates art and human centered design. Over the past 10 years he has designed Ethnic Studies MS curriculums and frameworks for OUSD and SFUSD, developed MS arts-making interdisciplinary project based learning program, developed national SEL MS curriculum through Center For The Collaborative Classroom, teacher fellow for Center for Critical Environmental and Global Literacy developing international teacher collaboration around climate justice, worked as instructional coach for Building Intentional Communities, co-founder of Global Community Cultural Exchange an international service learning and arts-integration youth exchange program in Cuba, teacher-researcher for Agency by Design through Harvard School Of Education Project Zero, and teaching fellow for Arts Integration and Maker Centered Learning. Through The People’s Conservatory, he is currently designing an arts-integrated international service learning program that partners with schools and educational organizations to build immersive curriculums that utilize project-based learning and arts-design as way for youth to investigate and address 21st century social issues.  

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