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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 16 January 2010

John McCarthy meets Christopher Aslan Alexander, who ran a carpet weaving workshop in Khiva in Uzbekistan to revive traditional skills and provide work and a focus for local women. He reveals a country that is a confusion of Mohammedism, Marxism and modernism.

John also talks to author Deborah Moggach, who visited Ghana to find out about the role of women and girls in society there and discovered a melting pot of the ancient and the modern.

And Professor Clive Harber has been visiting Africa for nearly 40 years as an academic specialising in education. He tells John about African academic life, how the school systems there treat girls in particular and about some of the spectacular wildlife parks he has been to over the years.

  • Christopher Aslan Alexander

    Christopher Aslan Alexander first went to Uzbekistan in 1998 with an organisation called Operation Mercy to help set a carpet weaving project for local women. In 2005, Christopher was banned from the country not knowing what offence he might have committed. He now works in Tajikistan for Operation Mercy in the High Pamirs.

    A Carpet Ride to Khiva: Seven years on the Silk Road
    Publisher: Icon Books Ltd
    ISBN-10: 1848311257
    ISBN-13: 978-1848311251

    Operation Mercy is an organisation which aims “to positively impact societies with compassion and integrity through relief and development programmes.”

    Find out more about Christopher Aslan Alexander
  • Deborah Moggach

    Deborah Moggach is a British screenwriter and author of several novels including Tulip Fever and her most recent, In the Dark. Deborah was one of the seven authors commissioned by Plan International to tell the stories of some of the world's poorest girls. She chose Ghana where she met many women and was impressed by the country’s vibrancy.

    Because I am a Girl
    Tim Butcher, Xiaolu Guo, Joanne Harris , Kathy Lette , Henning Mankell , Deborah Moggach , Marie Phillips , Irvine Welsh (Authors)
    Publisher: Vintage
    ISBN-10: 0099535920
    ISBN-13: 978-0099535928

    Plan International is a “children's development organisation working in 48 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas to promote child rights and lift millions of children out of poverty.”

    Find out more about Deborah Moggach
  • Clive Harber

    Clive Harber is Professor of International Education at the University of Birmingham, and has worked in universities in Nigeria and South Africa. His most recent research has involved a study of a quality of education project in four African countries (Ethiopia, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe) for Save the Children Norway and a study teaching controversial issues in teacher education in England and South Africa.

    His latest book Isn’t That Dangerous Tells is “an account of his wanderings around the bush with a biro” in fifteen African countries.

    Isn't That Dangerous?
    Publisher: Educational Heretics Press
    ISBN-10: 1900219387
    ISBN-13: 978-1900219389

    Find out more about Clive Harber


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