“I imagine a more equal, just, diverse, and interesting world in which everyone can fulfill their potential. A world in which individuals, communities, and society are integrated and there is no conflict between what is good for the few and what is good for all.

Sylvia Arthur is a storyteller and cultural activist based in Ghana who works to expand the kinds of stories told about Africa, the African diaspora, and African women. Through her work as a National Geographic Explorer and founder of the Library of Africa and the African Diaspora (LOATAD), she documents the stories of African women ages 60+ while also redefining the literary canon and changing how literacy can be approached.

Sylvia focuses her work on three key areas of knowledge: production, preservation, and dissemination. Her research with LOATAD and National Geographic excavates the stories of those who exist on the margins, uncovering narratives and histories that challenge preconceptions about these communities. By creating an alternative history of postcolonial West Africa from the perspective of its women, who experience the lowest life expectancy and literacy rates on the continent, she shares stories from teachers, midwives, oyster harvesters, and others, honoring their contributions to the development of their nations.

Sylvia believes that everyone deserves to have their curiosity nurtured through culturally relevant books and learning materials, and that training community members to open new pathways to learning is essential for fostering pride in their own histories. She aims to demonstrate how literacy and storytelling can better individual and societal circumstances and forge a more open, equitable future.