Exchange Matters / June 24, 2020

International Solidarity for Black Lives

In the wake of recent demonstrations against racial injustice in the United States, International House, a Community-Based Member of the Global Ties Network, reached out to IVLP alumni to learn how communities around the world are standing in solidarity and leading movements for social justice, inclusion, and multiculturalism in their own communities.

Protests and social progress
from our IVLP alumni

Republished with permission from International House

In the weeks following the brutal murder of George Floyd, our daily lives in the United States have been shaped by moments of reconciliation and evaluation of a history of discrimination and neocolonialism. Protests and demands for racial equity in the wake of George Floyd, Auhmad Aubery, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and countless others’ deaths have unearthed systems of entrenched racism and oppression. Physical demonstrations take place in all 50 states, and in many cities protests continue to grow in size and strength. Calls for accountability have begun to spark justice and reform; the Minneapolis police officers responsible for George Floyd’s death were charged and arrested,  Kentucky passed Breonna’s Law thereby banning no-knock warrants, Southern states have begun to remove Confederate monuments, and several major cities have begun to implement community-based, unarmed crisis management teams over traditional police forces.

The protests in our local community and all around the United States have sparked hope for many, but it is the international response to the killing of George Floyd that has been unexpected. The events in the United States have led to movements of solidarity as nations confront histories of discrimination and racial injustice.  Thousands of protestors have gathered around the globe to protest and stand in solidarity with those in the United States. Others have used calls for accountability and reform to catalyze civil rights movements in their own countries.

2017 IVLP alumni  El-Hussein Hassan and Hamat Abdraman provided us with photographs documenting protest and efforts towards multiculturalism and social progress in their home countries.

Mr. Mahamat Hamat Abdraman from Chad visited us in May of 2017 as a part of the Regional Interfaith Dialogue Project for the Near East and North Africa. As the vice president of the Association for Dialogue between Young People of Various Religions (ADJR), he has helped to bring together young Chadians of diverse religious backgrounds to promote peaceful coexistence and religious tolerance. Mr. Hamat Abdraman shared with us photos of racial justice protest and solidarity in Burkina Faso.

Arabic education class in Ghana. Credit: El-Hussein Hassan, IVLP 2017

From Egypt, Mr. Hussein shared with us his efforts towards social justice and acceptance in Ghana. Mr. Hussein visited us in 2017 as a part of the Urban Growth and City Planning Project for Egypt. He is the founder of Who Loves Egypt, a campaign that concentrates on the development of informal communities. He currently serves as the President of the Federation of African Institutions for the Elimination of Slums, and worked to fight extremism and poverty in Ghana through education, including Arabic language classes that prepare youth for their intermediate curriculum. Mr. Hussein cites his experiences with the IVLP as his motivation for pursuing justice and equality work on the African continent. He approaches his work from an interdisciplinary angle, combining his knowledge of sustainable development, his passion for education, and his commitment to fighting slums in order to facilitate an idea fostered in him by his IVLP experience; it is possible to tackle terrorism and extremism while creating a better life for people along the way.

The perspectives of our alumni highlight the various forms social progress and multiculturalism manifests itself around the world.  Our friends abroad have committed themselves to demonstrating in the streets and teaching in classrooms, working in uniquely powerful ways to elevate and fight for ethnic and religious minorities around the globe. We are immensely grateful for the work of our alumni and encourage all of our readers to get involved in any way they can.

Photo provided by Hamat Abdraman

If you are an International House IVLP alumni, please email descriptions or images of efforts towards racial and social justice from your perspective to

Editors note: This article originally appeared under the headline “International Solidarity for Black Lives: Protests and Social Progress through the Eyes of our International Visitor Leadership Program  (IVLP) Alumni” in the June 19, 2020 International House newsletter.