MPD alumnus and current ASCJ adjunct professor Neftalie Williams, shows the power of sports -- in this case skateboarding -- to transcend the deepest of international fault lines.
Courtesy of Neftalie Williams

MPD alum shows diplomatic power in skate

In September 2015 the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC included the work of MPD graduate Neftalie Williams in its Finding a Line season of music and skate culture.  Neftalie’s contribution connected his experience as a skateboarder, photographer, student and now lecturer (his class is called “Skateboarding and Action Sports in Business, Media and Culture”) at the University of Southern California. He has captured the spirit of skateboarding from photographing the world’s highest ollie for the Guinness Book of World’s records to engaging in skateboarding diplomacy as chairman of the board for CubaSkate, an NGO dedicated to supporting U.S. - Cuba cultural exchanges. Neftalie argues: " Regardless of age, race, gender or ethnicity we are all connected organically through our personal choice to adopt a construct identity--- that of the skateboarder. Skateboarders fit perfectly into JFK’s vision of a global citizenry. We don’t play skate - we become skateboarders and are part of a nation with no boundaries.  Membership to the “nation-skate” links us all to one powerful concept: reimagining ourselves as part of a global community that reinterprets public space as a land of limitless possibility. My photography reflects the passion and diversity amongst skateboarding’s global ambassadors. The work ranges from images of skateboarding legends to the neophyte’s first push in their quest for self-expression. From South Africa to Brazil, U.S. to Cuba and Afghanistan to the Philippines."

For media coverage of Neftalie and skate diplomacy see