October 3, 2009 marked the grand opening of the Akoma Ntoso Cultural Center (ANCC) in Newark. This momentous occasion marked the culmination of many years of preparation and many years of dedication to bridging the cultural divide between Africa and America. While Africa is home to some of the most ancient of human civilizations, many are unaware of the myriad contributions she has made to the world and about the important role she still occupies in world affairs. O'ia-da has decided to share with the world the rich culture and history that is Africa.
O'ia-da has been in Ghana since 1997 working and interacting with the people. During that time, we have amassed an impressive amount of historical and cultural information about Africa. However, rather than to simply publish the information in book form, we decided that a better way for students to learn about and appreciate Africa would be through interacting directly with its people. Thanks to the generous donations of Polycom Corporation, O'ia-da has been able to make that dream a reality by opening a state of the art cultural center featuring Telepresence video conferencing technology. The ANCC will connect students from around the world using Polycom® HDX™ 8000 series room telepresence systems in its Newark center as well as the ANCC location in Ghana. The cultural center is also using a Polycom Converged Management Application™ (CMA™) 4000 server to centrally manage and deploy its visual communication solution. Additionally, we can easily expand our video network and link to other educational and cultural facilities around the world using the Polycom CMA Desktop™ video conferencing application for personal computers and laptops. The Polycom solution also helps extend the benefit of live events for ongoing education opportunities by allowing the ANCC to record, archive and stream educational sessions using the Polycom RSS™ 2000 recording and streaming server.
In the short time since the center’s opening, it has made an impact on education in New Jersey and in the United States. In less than six months time, the cultural center has touched the lives of more than 5,000 New Jersey students ranging in age from Kindergarten to the college level. Additionally, the ANCC has taken its programs as far as Long Island, NY and Washington, DC where the Smithsonian Institute has decided to avail itself of the opportunity for its constituents to interact with Africa. The requests for partnerships and opportunities for the ANCC are growing every day. And this is only the beginning.