Mission & Philosophy

Ko-Falen Cultural Center seeks to promote cultural, artistic and educational exchanges between the people of the United States and Mali through art workshops, dance, music and ceremony. We believe that a greater understanding and respect between people can be reached through these personal exchanges.

Ko-Falen’s vision is that a greater understanding and respect between people can be reached through these profound personal exchanges.

“The Ko-Falen Cultural Center gives us a reason to learn about other cultures and places that we otherwise wouldn’t know exist. This is definitely the beginning of creating relationships and getting acquainted with each other. Once you get to know each other, it’s easy to work together and appreciate each other. This is a great dream!”

–       Yacouba Coulibaly, building engineer

Through its mission and programs, Ko-Falen sees an opportunity to facilitate cross-cultural exchange. By engaging in various forms of art making, program participants experience a unique form of education grounded in sharing and collaboration. These experiences break down the too-common stereotypical vision of plighted masses in a far away land and cultivate mutual respect, understanding and compassion. As a result, damaging power dynamics and misunderstood and misplaced inequalities are transformed into friendships and genuine personal relationships. People of different cultures are seen as equals, each with something extraordinary to offer the other.

Ko-Falen is unique in that it provides rich cultural and hands on educational opportunities for travelers, while offering encouraging situations in which Malians can engage. For many Malians, as with most people, the prospect of interacting with people of vastly different cultures is intimidating and at times impossible. Different communication styles, language barriers and economic standings can inhibit exchanges between people of different cultures, races, religions and ethnic backgrounds. By creating a center built by both local neighbors and visiting Americans, the Malians living in the Boulkassoumbougou neighborhood, are welcome to interact with people and share stories that may otherwise never have been told.  Anyone seeking to experience such a journey is welcome.