It has come to our attention that a young professional in the field of audiovisual archiving, George Gyesaw, has twice been denied a travel VISA by the US Embassy in Ghana, one that would allow him to attend the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) conference in Savannah, GA. Mr. Gyesaw is scheduled to participate in the conference’s Poster Session on October 9th and 10th where he is presenting a work titled “Database Solutions for Archival Institutions in Ghana. “
His was a Section 214 (B) refusal, meaning he cannot prove he has “strong ties” to Ghana that would compel him to return. The consular asked him a handful of questions about his position at the University of Ghana and his reason for traveling to the US. He was denied when he stated he was not married and does not have children. It is worth noting that his married travel companion, a colleague of his at the University of Ghana, was granted a VISA.
The consular’s denial of Mr. Gyesaw’s VISA is at best lazy and at worst discrimination. George has worked as a database administrator for the music and dance archive within the Institute for Africa Studies for over two years. As evidenced by a recent article he wrote for the Audiovisual Preservation Exchange, he has proven himself committed to stewarding Ghana’s recorded music and dance history. He has an invested interest in returning to his country with the new knowledge, experiences, and connections he will acquire at the conference, able to better serve Ghana’s rich heritage.
We call upon our community of archivists and activists to out the US Embassy in Ghana for their discriminatory practices and to pressure the consular to reevaluate Mr. Gyesaw’s VISA application in accordance with the following protocols for determining a Section 214 (B):
“During the visa interview they [consular] look at each application individually and consider professional, social, cultural and other factors. In cases of younger applicants who may not have had an opportunity to form many ties, consular officers may look at the applicants specific intentions, family situations, and long-range plans and prospects within his or her country of residence. “– US Embassy, Section 214 (B)
What can you do?
One way you can help is by Tweeting this post using and using the @USEmbassyGhana handle, or RT from our own Twitter site: https://twitter.com/actarc
Use @AMIAnet and #AMIA14 to alert the Association of Moving Image Archivists of the issue.
Stay tuned! We will keep you posted on our efforts.