NEW YORK -- Obiora Anekwe, currently a New York City Teaching Fellow and MST candidate at Pace University School of Education, has a gift for expression.
Born in the United States, but raised in Lagos, Nigeria, he moved back to the United States when he was in elementary school. After completing a Master’s in Bioethics at Columbia University, he applied for the NYC Teaching Fellows Program and is currently seeking an MST in Adolescent Special Education.
In Nigeria, themes like religion and ethnicity are intertwined with daily life, and the many different cultures and languages of the region become foundations for building identity. Reflecting upon this, he states, “In Nigeria, there is a connection to art and how you live. Exposure gives you a different perception of reality. All of this is reflective in my art.”
Having written several books in post secondary education and bioethics, his first book as a children’s author was published earlier this year. Urged by SOE professor Kathryn De Lawter to expand his research on the topic of Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins into a book, Obiora chose to write and illustrate The Adventures of Blind Tom himself. The publication focuses on recurring themes of racial identity and facing challenges in a way that younger children can understand and even relate to.
Anekwe credits the Teaching Fellows Program and Pace University School of Education with pushing students toward understanding their true selves and what their true intentions are in teaching. “How I teach is a reflection of who I am and who my students are is a reflection of society.” Through teaching, he feels “my highest purpose is to create legacies for the future. Not what I see as important, but what the universal consciousness calls us to do.”
Anekwe will have a reading and book signing of The Adventures of Blind Tom at Barnes and Noble in White Plains on Nov. 21. For information on the event, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more in depth articles about art, education, and bioethics, visit the Ethically Speaking website .