Dr. Bansak Joins NY6 Upstate-Global in South Africa, Kenya

Dr. Cynthia Bansak, Professor of Economics, was among the four St. Lawrence University professors who traveled to Africa this summer to conduct workshops and take part in intellectual discussions as part of the New York Six Upstate-Global Collective project.

For the past two years, St. Lawrence faculty have participated in conferences, analyzed experiences at the U.S.- Canada border, visited communities along the U.S.-Mexico border, shared research findings at Colgate University, and recently visited South Africa and Kenya in the last phase of the NY6 grant. The New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium members include Colgate University, Hamilton College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, St. Lawrence University, Skidmore College and Union College.

“Given the relevancy of border issues in upstate New York, the southern U.S. and Africa, all of the faculty members involved are now able to speak at a personal level about the policy and human rights issues that occur at various borders,” said Cynthia Bansak, professor of economics. “This has transcended our classroom discussions on the topic, and will provide an impetus to various research projects related to migration and border control.”

Titled “Immigration and Human Rights: Border Issues to the North, South, and Beyond,” the NY6 project aims to create a scholarly community supporting teaching and learning around academic themes that have rich historical roots in upstate New York and are also of current consequence worldwide.

The group also visited St. Lawrence University's Kenya Semester Program (KSP) in Nairobi.

“In Cape Town, we met individuals and had first-hand interactions with experts who shared their experiences with voluntary and involuntary movements of people by international and domestic forces,” Bansak said. “In Nairobi, we were exposed to the complicated sources of current-day tensions in Kenya through discussions with academics, Kenyan Somalis, community organizers, primary school teachers and the amazing staff of the KSP.”

For more information on the NY6 Upstate-Global Collective, visit