Skyline takes part in Diaspora Project

Skyline professor Michael Moynihan with Nombuso Ndomo.

By Will Nacouzi/The Skyline View

Skyline professor Michael Moynihan with Nombuso Ndomo.


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The Counsel General of South Africa, Nombuso Ndomo, visited Skyline College’s Center for International Trade Development on Thursday, Oct. 20 to discuss the African Diaspora Project, particularly with the college’s involvement in the Genographic Project.

During her visit, Ndomo expressed interest in the Genographic Project and met with Professor Moynihan to talk about the project and its purpose and what role Skyline could play in it.

The main aim of the project is to discover and map human migration and immigration as far back as 60,000 years to as early as 10,000 years ago.

Ndomo’s interest in the project stems from social challenges present in her native South Africa, where the after-effects of Apartheid linger and the country is still divided along racial lines. Ndomo hopes that the genetic evidence from the project is enough to convince people in not only South Africa, but also here in the US that we are all the same, regardless of ethnicity or skin color.

Current research conducted by the project has helped to demonstrate thus far that human beings share 99.9 percent of the same genetic material, with the only difference being 0.1 percent, which manifests itself as the physiological adaptations humans have made to their environment.  These external variations, such as different skin pigments or eye shapes, are what are often used to describe a specific group as a “race.”

The Center for International Trade Development’s Executive Director, Richard A.F. Soyombo, found genetic information to be especially supportive in pointing out the triviality of racism.

“Therefore, based on that 0.1 percent that you think you’re different than I am?” Soyombo said. “That there’s so much division in the US?”

The project also encouraged Professor Moynihan to partner with National Geographic and a few other organizations to create Sociology 143 (Sociology of Migration and Immigration). National Geographic provided the funding for the class while Moynihan wrote the curriculum.

Sociology 143 will cover the Sociology of Migration and Immigration and will examine the patterns, environmental conditions, political context, economic factors and cultural identity of human migration over the course of human history.

Currently, students in Anthropology 125; History 104, 435, 240, 335, 430; and Psychology 200 are taking part in the Genographic Project.

The course is also one of the core classes for the African Diaspora program and as such is part of the Center for International Trade Development.

The Genographic Project and the Sociology 143 course are part of the Center for International Trade Development’s push to demonstrate that the African Diaspora program isn’t only for a particular group of students, but is open to all students to take part in and to illustrate that regardless of ethnicity or background, we are all the same.

“If the project can prove to you that the only difference between us is 0.1 percent, then I will be forever proud to be part of Skyline,” Soyombo said.