You are viewing a past event
Breathe in the Roots: A Journey of Discovery across Ethiopia
4:00pm - 6:00pm


400 years after the first African slaves arrived in what would become the United States, social worker and educator Ty Christen Joseph traveled to Africa to reclaim his heritage. Join Perry World House for a screening of Breathe in the Roots, a documentary telling the story of Joseph’s journey of discovery, traveling across Ethiopia on horseback.

The screening will be followed by a discussion with Joseph and filmmaker Indrias Kassaye (’92) about using storytelling as a tool for understanding complex global issues, moderated by global education consultant and Penn lecturer Anastasia Shown.

This event is hosted in partnership with Makuu, International Student & Scholar Services, the School of Social Policy and Practice, and Penn’s International Relations Program.


Indrias Kassaye headshotIndrias G. Kassaye is a communication strategist, photographer, and documentary filmmaker from Ethiopia. After completing his studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 1992, Kassaye returned to Ethiopia to pursue a career in development. Career highlights include work as a photojournalist; as a communications specialist with UNICEF in Ethiopia, and Sierra Leone during the Ebola epidemic; and as a multi-media producer for UN agencies and NGOs in various African countries. He is also the author of Beyond the Throne: The Enduring Legacy of Haile Selassie I. Kassaye moved to the United States in 2016 where he has been pursuing opportunities to build bridges between Africa and the United States through exhibitions, film screenings, and productions designed to promote exchange, understanding and mutual empowerment.

Ty Christen Joseph headshotTy Christen Joseph is an educator and social worker living in New York City. Before completing his masters, he worked as an English and debate instructor and entrepreneur for eight years, while studying and traveling through Costa Rica, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Egypt, and Ethiopia. Joseph works with different groups to organize against the criminalization of poverty and people with disabilities, in addition to anti-Black racism and Afrophobic policies in academia, sociopolitical, and international spheres. He employs tactical civil disobedience, curricula design, and direct action to push institutions towards social justice frameworks that empower and enthrall marginalized communities towards the creation of an equitable society. His practice centers around critical race theory, radical pedagogy, and decolonial theory. 


Anastasia ShownAnastasia Shown is a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania and a global education consultant. Shown has designed and implemented community and school-based programs to educate the public about less commonly known world regions. She has worked with 100+ K-12 schools, colleges, nonprofits, professional associations and government agencies in Philadelphia, the United States, and abroad. Shown had led academic and service-learning programs in Ghana, Cameroon, and Ethiopia. She was awarded the Global Young Advocate Award by the United Nations Association of America, a Fulbright-Hays GPA grant, the Centennial Partner Award from International House Philadelphia, and the inaugural Globy Award for Educational Leadership. She is an alumna of Up with People International and has served on the Board of Directors for the United Nations Association of Greater Philadelphia and the Global Philadelphia Association. This year she is teaching classes at Penn's School of Social Policy & Practice and the Department of Africana Studies, including a spring Penn Global Seminar to Ghana. Shown received her B.A. in Women's Studies from Indiana University, and her Master in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania.

Breathe in the Roots is a Jobiraw Production film. Executive Producer: Efrata Belachew, Directors: Sintayehu Niguse/Indrias G. Kassaye, Producers:Ty Christen Joseph/Indrias G. Kassaye.