The Nairobi Center promotes knowledge sharing by providing a platform where ideas are shared among peers through a collaborative process between Columbia University and local institutions. This ultimately provides an enhanced understanding and a pathway to finding solutions for pressing global challenges.
One of the Global Center’s vision and mission is to be at the heart of global conversations and to be part of a network that seeks solutions to the continually complex global challenges. In this regard, the Nairobi Global Center creates and hosts forums to cover diverse topics that address current pressing issues and invites the participation of local experts, Columbia University faculty and industry experts. Some forums that the Nairobi Center has hosted in the past are on; refugee crisis, climate change, war and conflict among others.
Through the President's Global Innovation Fund (PGIF), the Center has, over the years, nurtured relationships with local, regional, and national governments and academic institutions in Eastern and Southern Africa to increase and connect academics to global and regional educational opportunities for research, teaching, and service.
This PGIF project sought funding for a geological field trip program to the Turkana Basin and the Columbia Global Center in Nairobi. The project planned to leverage the position of the Global Center to open collaborations with local geologists and students in Nairobi and forge a long-term collaboration between Columbia and the Turkana Basin Institute. The project also aimed to serve as the basis for more extensive grant proposals to the National Science Foundation that are expected to allow the collaboration between scientists at Columbia University, the Nairobi global center, scientists in Nairobi, and the Turkana Basin Institute.
The Research Team
- Principal Investigator: Sidney Hemming, Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University.
- Co-Principal Investigators: Stephen Cox, Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University.
- Local Collaborators: Lawrence Martin - Director, Turkana Basin Institute; Isaiah Nengo - Associate Director, Turkana Basin Institute
This PGIF project was built on existing collaborations between Columbia University’s Institute of African Studies and institutions in West Africa, North Africa, and France to explore innovative approaches to researching, writing, and teaching theory and methodology in an African context through summer seminars to be held at the Columbia Global Center in Nairobi. It brought together faculty and students working within disciplines across Arts & Sciences in the fields of history, anthropology, philosophy, political science, urban planning, and literature, and in doing so, encouraged all participants to think across these disciplines and between the social sciences and humanities to generate new approaches and ways of thinking about African philosophy and epistemologies as well as issues of urban space, politics, religion and citizenship.
The Research Team
- Principal Investigator: Mamadou Diouf, Director, Institute of African Studies & Leitner Professor of African Studies and History)
- Co-Principal Investigators: Kai Kresse, Associate Professor of African and Swahili Studies, Columbia University Institute of African Studies; Jinny Prais, Associate Director, Columbia University Institute of African Studies.
- Local Collaborators: Brian Larkin - Professor of Anthropology, Barnard College, Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Professor of French and Philosophy, Columbia University’s Institute of African Studies; Jacqueline Klopp - Associate Research Scholar, Earth Institute, Columbia University, Philosophy Department at the University of Nairobi, Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Technical University of Kenya
Convened in response to the proliferating forms of violence facing black populations in the US and diaspora, the mission of the Practicing Refusal Collective (PR Collective) was to articulate black feminist strategies for addressing the precarious state of black communities resulting from policies that treat black bodies as disposable and expendable – a state of duress described as black fungibility. The project sought to develop strategies for confronting black fungibility and create alternative possibilities for living otherwise through expanding the conversations begun by the PR Collective by creating multi-directional dialogues in a range of sites in Africa and its diasporas with local artists, activists, scholars, and thought-leaders working to develop their strategies for addressing black precarity, fungibility, and anti-black violence.
The Research Team
- Principal Investigator: Saidiya Hartman, Professor, Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Columbia University.
- Co-Principal Investigator: Mabel Wilson, Professor, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University.
- Other Columbia Participants: Tina Campt – Professor, Barnard College & The Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality (IRWGSS)/Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies; Monica Miller – Associate Professor, department of English/Africana Studies, Barnard College, Columbia University; Kaiama Hartman – Associate Professor, department of French/Africana Studies, Barnard College, Columbia University.
The 'Building Resilience in Crisis through Education' (BRICE) Program.
In a consortium headed by Oxfam IBIS consisting of global, regional and national partners and including members from Oxfam in South Sudan, Uganda and Oxfam Novib, AVSI, FAWEU, UNATU, Luigi Giussani Institute for Higher Education and the Community Development Initiative, as well as the international teacher trade union Education International and CGC | Nairobi/Columbia University Teachers’ College as a research partner, BRICE aimed at building the resilience of learners, teachers and education systems by providing education to 31,150 youth in more than 22 schools in South Sudan and Northern Uganda.