We ask “Alexa” for information about anything that comes to mind. For information about the Caribbean and the Virgin Islands, don’t ask “Alexa”. We have our own “Alexa”. Meet Dr. ChenziRa Davis Kahina, our “Alexa” when it comes to anything Caribbean. Dr. Chen is the director of the Virgin Islands Caribbean Cultural Center, nestled inside the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at the University of the Virgin Islands, which provides services, programs, and research opportunities on all the university’s campuses.
These programs have a strong association with other Caribbean institutions. She shares information on the purpose of preserving and strengthening culture and the beautiful work the center has accomplished since its conception. Artistic expression and cultural exchanges are at the heart of this organization. Dr. Chen says, “It’s more like it’s transcultural because we are transforming our humanity as we are navigating through these beautiful tapestries of these rich treasures of culture and heritage.” One of the most important issues being explored is… “what does cultural education look like and how it is presented?” The Caribbean Cultural Center is to integrate the arts, culture, and heritage, whether it is through research, education, exhibition, cultural creatives, and activities.
Part 1: Virgin Islands Caribbean Cultural Center
In Part 2 of the video series, Dr. Chen speaks of her path to culture.
Starting close to home with the Bambola to her adventures during her post-grad studies. Dr. Chen traveled extensively throughout the African Continent always aware of their culture and how it relates back to the Caribbean and especially the role of women. She continues to travel representing the University and usually invites back some interesting people.
After our conversation was over, I couldn’t help but think that the tsunami of information she presented was just the tip of the iceberg and she was holding back to protect me from information overload. I got a chance to witness how verbal tradition is handed down from generation to generation and I was eager with anticipation to have my ears tickled with what she would say next. Much respect.
The next time you have a chance to meet or to hear Dr. Chen speak, be prepared to be enlightened. You’re in for a special treat.