Photo by Tyler Goodell on Unsplash

Led by Scholars from Nearly A Dozen Countries 

Free Courses in Prospect Park from September 8 – 18

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), in partnership with Prospect Park Alliance (PPA), announced the return of immigrant-taught University Open Air, a pop-up university taking place September 8 through September 18 at the lawns surrounding the Prospect Park Boathouse. Led by professors and experts from countries around the world, including Tibet, Ghana, Pakistan, Israel, and Taiwan, the courses cover a wide range of subjects from cybersecurity to salsa music.

University Open Air is a platform for globally trained immigrants to share their knowledge with New Yorkers. Courses will take place outdoors on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. All courses are free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged, but all are welcome.

“We are happy University Open Air is back in session. With instructors from around the world, we invite the community to explore new perspectives and ideas—from literature to art and science—in beautiful Prospect Park amid nature and one another, far from the screens which have occupied our attention for the last few years,” said László Jakab Orsós, BPL’s Vice President of Arts and Culture.

For a full schedule of courses and to register, visit

Please check the website for the most current schedule and health protocols. 

The program is a part of BPL’s mission to provide access to information for all who seek it; and an extension of Prospect Park Alliance’s mission to engage the diverse communities that consider the park “Brooklyn’s Backyard.”

“As a gathering place for many immigrant communities, Prospect Park is the perfect backdrop for University Open Air’s enriching and enlightening programming,” said Maria Carrasco, Vice President of Public Programs at Prospect Park Alliance. “The Alliance is proud to partner for another season with the Brooklyn Public Library to bring accessible community events to the park with this exciting lineup of free classes.”

University Open Air has welcomed over 1000 students to its classes. In addition to University Open Air, BPL provides a wide array of free services for immigrants, including programs in 14 different languages, conversation groups, free financial counseling, and citizenship application assistance.

In advance of the lectures, professors will participate in a training session to help structure the classes. All professors will be compensated for their work.


Julia Adams (China) is an educator at the Museum and Academy of Public Health and an expert in tea cultures, the Chinese tea ceremony, and traditional Chinese culture especially Tang Dynasty’s culture. Coming from a family of Zhu (朱氏家族) and the Ming dynasty, Julia was raised in a traditional Chinese culture. Prior to relocating to New York, Julia was a news anchor at Jiangsu Province TV Station in China. She is also a zither player, certified by Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Her course will focus on the traditional Chinese tea culture and the tea ceremony. She will also teach Fengshui 101.

Alon Andorn (Israel) is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice encompasses drawing, collage, sculpture & video installation. He holds a master’s degree in fine arts and a bachelor’s degree in visual communication, both from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. Prior to immigrating to the United States, Andorn taught art and design in various higher education establishments for over a decade. He has also worked with children and teens, teaching Hebrew as well as art. Participants will learn how to look at nature, including searching for interesting textures and compositions from the natural surroundings in the park.

Marcelo Arroyave (Spain) is a researcher and counselor with experience in qualitative and quantitative research, advising, outreach, in post-secondary and K-12 education. He works with economically disadvantaged youth, low-income communities, and immigrants in vulnerable situations through Community Outreach. He has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in urban anthropology from Rovira and Virgili University in Catalonia. His course will focus on Salsa music in New York, exploring the places and sounds of different generations and neighborhoods. Arroyave will be accompanied by Hungarian-born DJ Adrian Patino.

Nadia Batool Bokhari (Pakistan) has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. She has previously worked as a freelance journalist and TV anchor in Pakistan and has over a decade of international reporting experience with a special focus on issues of social justice, human rights, and health. She received various U.S.-based fellowships in a broad range of topics including health reporting in journalism and the Census 2020. She has practiced journalism in the USA, UK, India, and Pakistan. Her courses will focus on the discrimination of female South Asian journalists; how companies are exploiting working from home; and economic recessions and depressions. Follow her on Twitter at @nadiabatool; ndbokhari.wordpress.comand

Nadia Bongo (France) holds a Ph.D. in French Language and Literature from Aix Marseille Université. She taught French language, literature, and research for the French Academy for six years. She feels fortunate to have two passions: teaching and writing. In 2018, she attended a Cave Canem workshop. In Spring 2021, Nadia was a Brooklyn Poets fellow. Her work has appeared in the NYPL zine, Newtown Literary, Brooklyn Poets website, Litro magazine, and elsewhere. Bongo will examine some laudatory and critical devices used in emblematic works to present the concept of beauty and ugliness; she will also offer a course about how writers of color make room for enjoyment and pain in their work. 

Chia-Lun Chang (Taiwan) is the author of Prescribee (2022), winner of the Nightboat Poetry Prize, and two chapbooks, An Alien Well-Tamed (Belladonna*, 2022) and One Day We Become Whites (No, Dear, 2016). She has received support from Jerome Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, Tofte Lake Center, Poets House, and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (Sarah Verdone Writing Award 2022, Governors Island Arts Center residency 2021; Process Space 2017) among others. Born and raised in New Taipei City, Taiwan, she lives in Brooklyn. In her first course, students will read original and translated poems by Taiwanese authors as well as having a chance to create new work with prompts. In another, Chang will examine how we name an item and feelings, reimagining the relationship between the narrator and objects. To learn more about her, please visit her website

Dr. Chok Tenzin Monlam (Tibet) is a Tibetan yoga and mindfulness instructor. He has over a decade of experience spreading Tibetan teachings including yoga and meditation methods around the world. He has spent ten-plus years dedicated to the study of Buddhist physical and mental healings. He has written and translated more than 30 books and numerous articles into English and Tibetan. Since the pandemic, he has taught virtual courses all over the globe. His courses will focus on a nine-round breathing meditation; simple yoga movements that help you to make it possible to sit in the vajra posture; and a special healing ritual.

Alain Kamga Noubissi (Cameroon) is a mechanical engineer with more than 10 years of experience maintaining industrial machines and overseeing manufacturing facilities. He has hands-on experience in metal fabrication and designs projects for industrial use. He is a seasoned design instructor and teaches fluency in the language of technical drawing. His course will focus on manual drawing and drafting techniques.

Eugene Opoku-Mensah (Ghana) is an Assistant Professor at Middlesex’s College Department of Computer Science. He has been an instructor in Ghana and China, where he worked for six years before moving to the United States. Dr. Opoku-Mensah uses an interactive approach with practical illustrations. His interest is in data science and information security. Professor Opoku-Mensah will talk about identifying and preventing cyber-attacks and protecting your own devices.

Stephen Tekpetey (Ghana) holds a bachelor of science (BSC honors) and doctoral degree from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Kumasi, Ghana. He is a member of the ISO Technical Committee of the Bamboo and Rattan Standardization with extensive research work and publications on bamboo as a building material and its utilization. He is currently working with New-York Presbyterian Hospital. He will teach two courses: one will explore the current and potential uses of bamboo and rattan to contribute to climate change adaptation and resilience; the other on how to write a winning proposal.

Denise Wiley (Japan) is a journalist, public relations practitioner, and instructor of English as a Second Language. Prior to moving to the United States. Ms. Wiley lived in Japan for five years where she taught business English, cultural awareness, and business communication. She holds a BA in media and communication and is currently reading for the MA in international migration studies at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Her courses will focus on New York’s diverse cultures and how to navigate differences and use similarities to strengthen communities; she will also explore media narratives on immigration.

Jenna Tang (Taiwan) is a Taiwanese writer and literary translator based in New York. She translates from Chinese, French, and Spanish. She received her MFA in fiction creative writing from The New School and is currently teaching at Catapult. Her translations or essays are published in Restless Books, Latin American Literature Today, AAWW, Catapult, Mcsweeney’s and her upcoming works will be published in the Southwest Review, World Literature Today, and more. She is one of the selected translators for the 2021 ALTA Emerging Translators Mentorship program with a focus on Taiwanese prose. In her workshop, participants will explore how to record our traveling experiences in meaningful ways (journals, voice recordings, videos, more), and how to use language to shape our past/present travel experiences that make us who we are today. Tang will also offer a class introducing established and unrepresented authors from Asia, Latin America, Africa, and other parts of the world, who have been translated into English.

Brooklyn Public Library is one of the nation’s largest library systems and among New York City’s most democratic institutions. As a leader in developing modern 21st-century libraries, we provide resources to support personal advancement, foster civic literacy, and strengthen the fabric of community among the more than 2.7 million individuals who call Brooklyn home. We provide nearly 60,000 free programs a year with writers, thinkers, artists, and educators—from around the corner and around the world. And we give patrons millions of opportunities to enjoy one of life’s greatest satisfactions: the joy of a good book. 

Prospect Park Alliance is the non-profit organization that sustains, restores, and advances Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s Backyard, in partnership with the City. The Alliance provides critical staff and resources that keep the Park green and vibrant for the diverse communities that call Brooklyn home. Learn more at

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