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The College of Fine Arts and Communication partnered with academic and service units across campus to host the Nile Project, an African band that works extensively to raise awareness about water issues.


Students participating in “A Gift to the Nile,” a performative reflection on the study of hydro and social issues, posed for a photo with Nile Project band members in in April. Based on an honors class led by Teal Darkenwald (dance) and Susan Pearce (sociology), students offered reflections on all manner of social issues, illuminated through dance, song and poetry.


While in residence, the Nile Project offered masterclasses and workshops in Ugandan wedding celebration rhythms for percussion majors, music and dance workshops and Zar, a female-centric trance ritual. Nile band members participated in panel sessions including “The Nile and African Identity,” “Water Resources of the Nile Basin and North Carolina’s Tar-Roanoake Rivers,” “Think Globally, Act Locally,” and “River Stories.” Artistic director and founder Mina Girgis lectured on the Voyages of Discovery series, offering “Music, Citizen Engagement and Water Resource Management.” The band performed for middle and high school students in a bus-in performance, for patrons of the Lucille Gorham Intergenerational Center at their annual block-party celebration, and in formal concert for students and the general public.


The project was supported financially by the S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series, Arts Smart, the College of Fine Arts and Communication, the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, Student Involvement and Leadership, the Honors College, South Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council. Additional partners included Pitt County Schools, ECU’s Sustainability Department, the Schools of Theatre and Dance and Music, the Departments of Anthropology, Sociology, History, English and Geology.


In total, more than 4,500 individuals were connected to elements of the project during a four-day event. The Nile Project exemplifies how the College of Fine Arts and Communication collaborates in service of our students and our region.