Staff & Board


Jeannine OsayandeInterim Executive Director

Jeannine Osayande is a polycentric choreographer, educator, performer, cultural expert of West African Diaspora/African Derived dance and drum traditions. She is founder/director of Dunya Performing Arts Company (DunyaPAC) specializing in Art in Education and Art Integration. Jeannine Osayande & DunyaPAC teaching artists have provided programming on the Black Experience for 40 years, reaching hundreds of thousands of people, locally and internationally. DunyaPAC’s mission is to add value to our environment and community through Arts, Culture and Social Change.

Ms Jeannine’s teaching, appointments, programs and awards include; Ursinus College Guest Artist/Lecturer in Performance (2013-current), Visiting Assistant Professor in Dance 2022-2023, Swarthmore College Associate in Performance (2001-2011, 2020-2022, Senior Lecturer 2023-2026). Appointment, Interim Executive Director Philadelphia Folklore Project (summer 2019, 2023). DunyaPAC Artist in Residence Programs include; Westtown Lower School (21 years), Swarthmore Rutledge Elementary School (31years), Germantown Academy Lower School (24 years), Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School (4 years), Young Audience of NJ and EPA (6 years). Projects and Awards include; Ngoma Drum Tribute Keeper of the Culture Awardee, Phila, PA (2017); Commissioned choreographer include People’s Light Nina Simone: Four Women (2019).

Awards/Grants include; Ann Bernstein Richan Peace Action Fund (2020), Swarthmore Centennial Foundation Shine A Light Award (2021). 2022 Joy Resides Here Young Audiences NJ/EPA Anti-Racism Grant, 2023 Swarthmore Borough ARPA Award for the Historically Black Neighborhood of Swarthmore Podcast and Virtual Walking Tour in collaboration with The Philadelphia Folklore Project, 2023 Ursinus College Arts and Lecture Fund Moving Bodies Making Space: Ursinus College Community Global Dance Series, 2022-2023 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship, 2022-2023 Telling the Full History Preservation Fund, The National Endowment for the and Humanities American Rescue Plan (Co-Collaborators Jeannine Osayande and the Philadelphia Folklore Project).

Ms Jeannine apprenticed with De Ama Battle, Art of Black Dance and Music, Boston, MA; Mentors include:  Ibrahima Camara, Koumpo/Sahal, Senegal; and Prof. F. Nii Yartey, Noyam African Dance Institute, Ghana. She holds a Bachelors degree in Anthropology from Temple University, and a Certificate in Traditional and Contemporary African Dance from Noyam African Dance Institute and the Ghana Board of Education; A Teaching Artist Professional Certification from Columbia University Teacher’s College. Ms Jeannine served on The Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation (2013-2018). She is a member of the Philadelphia Folklore Project’s Board of Directors, and the Swarthmore Rotary’s Board of Directors.

Email Jeannine Osayande


Jeannine Osayande


Jeannine Osayande is a teaching artist, choreographer, and performer of West African dance (Mali Empire) for over 35 years. She is founder and director of Dunya Performing Arts Company. Ms. Jeannine apprenticed with De Ama Battle and Bamidele Osumarea of The Art of Black Dance and Music, Boston, MA; Ibrahima Camara, Koumpo/Sahal, of Senegal; and Prof. F. Nii Yartey, Noyam African Dance Institute, Ghana. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from Temple University and a Certificate in Traditional and Contemporary African Dance from Noyam African Dance Institute and the Ghana Board of Education. Ms. Jeannine teaches technique, repertory, and dance history courses at Ursinus College. She is a member of the Philadelphia Dancing for Justice Chapter. Ms. Jeannine serves actively on the Boards of the Philadelphia Folklore Project and the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation.

Saundra Gilliard


Saundra Gilliard is a nationally recognized Storyteller and Personal Transformation Leader, who uses storytelling and play in every aspect of her training and development. Her work has focused on helping women harness and nurture the Divine Feminine within. For the past 20 years, her stage performances and training “playshops” have promoted and cultivated Sacred Feminine Practices and techniques. Saundra is the founder of Femininely Free!, a personal transformation business focusing exclusively on assisting women tapping into their sacred feminine source.

Rechelle McJett Beatty


Sharon Friedler

Sharon E. Friedler is Director of the Dance Program at Swarthmore College and former Stephen Lang Professor of the Performing Arts (2005-2010) as well as the Faculty Advisor for Off Campus study. Her areas of interest include dance composition, history and theory of dance (with special interests in cross-cultural study, gender, and dance as a social change agent), modern dance technique, and traditional and contemporary dances of Ghana.

Fariha Khan, Ph.D.

Fariha Khan is the Co-Director of the Asian American Studies program at the University of Pennsylvania where she also teaches courses on South Asians in the U.S., Asian American Communities, Asian American Food, as well as Muslim Identity in America. She received a Master’s degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Yale University and a PhD in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. Her current research focuses on South Asian American Muslims, Pakistani American culture, and the Asian American community. Dr. Khan was appointed in 2015 to the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs and served until 2019. Actively involved in the Philadelphia community, Dr. Khan is Vice Chair of the Board of the Samuel S. Fels Fund and serves or has served on the Board of the American Folklore Society, the Philadelphia Folklore Project, the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, and the James Brister Alumni Society.

Carole Boughter

Debora Kodish, Founder

Debora Kodish was the founder of the Philadelphia Folklore Project, and it’s Director from 1987 through June 2014. Some of her publications on activist approaches to public interest folklore work can be found here, including “Cultivating Folk Arts and Social Change” (Journal of American Folklore, 2013), “Imagining Public Folklore” (Companion to Folklore, 2012), and “Envisioning Folklore Activism” (Journal of American Folklore, 2011). She can be reached at