America's Unofficial Ambassadors

We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.

From Meknes to Stonetown

Brieanna Griffin and is a rising senior at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University, where she concurrently majors in Global Studies and Anthropology. She is also pursuing a minor in Arabic Studies and certificates in Islamic Studies and TESOL. After graduation, she would like to teach English in the Arab world and then find work in the field of diplomacy after graduate school.This summer, Brieanna will be living in Stonetown, Zanzibar and teaching English at a public school. This is not Brieanna’s first time going abroad to teach English. Read Brieanna’s pre-departure blogs post below to discover her love for travel, languages and service. 

From Meknes to Stonetown

Brieanna Griffin

After spending ten weeks of my summer last year in Meknes, Morocco working as an English teacher and taking an Advanced Arabic class, I returned home determined to spend this summer abroad doing meaningful work as well. A few months ago, I applied to travel to Zanzibar and serve as an intern with America’s Unofficial Ambassadors.

Brieanna Griffin is guided around the historic Tumekuja School by students Sharif Mohammed and Abdul Latif Juma.

Brieanna Griffin is guided around the historic Tumekuja School by students Sharif Mohammed and Abdul Latif Juma.

I am truly inspired by the work America’s Unofficial Ambassadors has been able to accomplish in its short time and feel truly grateful to be a part of this special program. I have been assigned to work in the Zanzibari public school system teaching English and Geography which I could not be more thrilled about as I believe that teaching is one of the best ways to engage in meaningful cultural exchange and dialogue.

Since I started at the Barrett School at Arizona State, my interests have developed to encompass many things. I initially was interested in learning the Arabic language because it looked and sounded beautiful to me, but in my mind it seemed advantageous to learn a language that was considered critical by the United States. After studying Arabic for three years, I can say that it has left a much greater impression on me than I could have ever imagined. My interest in Arabic fortunately led to my interest in Islamic Studies. As an Islamic Studies student, I have become keenly aware that many people understand the term “Muslim world” to be synonymous with the “Arab world.”

The Head of Tumekuja School, Mr. Saloum, welcomes new English teacher Brieanna Griffin and AUA Zanzibar Country Coordinator Ulrica de Silva.

The Head of Tumekuja School, Mr. Saloum, welcomes new English teacher
Brieanna Griffin and AUA Zanzibar Country Coordinator Ulrica de Silva.

America’s Unofficial Ambassadors aims to address misconceptions and stereotypes like the example I provided which is an incredibly admirable mission. As the world continues down the path of globalization, it is more important than ever to work to understand and accept differences and not by paralyzed by them.

While in Zanzibar, I hope to become a better teacher and gain further experience in a developing country to prepare for a gap year after I complete my undergraduate studies next year. I also hope to gain experience working with NGOs in Zanzibar as I think NGO experience is invaluable for those interested in international work of any sort. I’m looking forward to building a comparative perspective on two different places in the Muslim world, as well as in Africa. I also hope that I am challenged with my Swahili classes and by the people I meet.

I so look forward to this amazing experience… I will pour my heart and soul into everything I do this summer!

See you in a few days, Zanzibar…

Students at the Tumekuja School use their break to gaze out at the Indian Ocean, a challenge to some teachers who have to speak loudly to compete with the sounds of the sea.

Students at the Tumekuja School use their break to gaze out at the
Indian Ocean, a challenge to some teachers who have to speak loudly to
compete with the sounds of the sea.

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