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“Relationships: The Difference Maker” with Alhassan Susso

Wednesday, March 27, 2019, 5:30 pm

The Douglas Biklen Landscape of Urban Education Lecture Series

At the core of teaching is cultivating and nurturing relationships. This simple human approach has the potential to transform students’ lives.  This method of teaching is intended to create safe, productive learning environments where academic excellence thrives. As compassion thrives in the classroom, so does learning.

Learning in the classroom can easily be achieved if the students we are teaching feel valued in the process. It does not matter how outstanding our lessons are, how skilled we are in delivering those lessons or how knowledgeable we are in our subject matter (which are all at the core of great teaching), if our students do not know how much we care about them.

As Emerson said, “educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” In this talk, participants will learn the different methods of developing a culture of respect, tolerance and understanding in the classroom, which naturally fosters learning.

Alhassan SussoAlhassan Susso is an educator, author and speaker who has devoted his career to transforming the lives of young people facing difficulties. An immigrant from West Africa, Alhassan came to America as a poor teenager coping with a rare eye disease with gradual vision loss which he still copes with as a teacher. Living with this obstacle, Alhassan seeks to expand the worldview of young minds through the development of essential life skills necessary to succeed academically, socially, professionally and economically.

Alhassan is the 2019 New York State Teacher of the Year. He was also named in 2017 as one of the Top 50 Outstanding Educators in the World by the Varkey Foundation’s Global Teacher Prize. He is a two-time recipient of Social-Emotional Learning Innovation Award for Teachers by Education First through the Rockefeller Foundation.

He is the author of a motivational memoir, The Light of Darkness: The Story of the Griots’ Son, which traces his journey to America as a nearly blind teenager and his trials and triumphs becoming American, while maintaining his deep African roots. This book is now being used in several schools in the U.S. to teach a variety of topics including immigration, overcoming adversities, practicing compassion etc. It also enables teachers to effectively implement his strategies in teaching new immigrant students in their schools.

Alhassan graduated with honors from the University of Vermont, and received his Masters of Arts in Teaching from Bard College. He currently teaches Government, Economics and Personal Development at the International Community High School in the South Bronx in New York City.

Free and open to the public. Parking available in the Harrison lot (between University Ave and S Crouse Ave). Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) will be provided. If you have additional accommodation requests, please contact or 315.443.4696.


Wednesday, March 27, 2019
5:30 pm
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Lender Auditorium
007 Whitman School of Management, 721 University Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244 United States


Landscape of Urban Education Lecture Series