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The Obama Foundation Scholars Program at Columbia University brings together rising leaders from around the world who have demonstrated a commitment to finding solutions to challenges in their communities, countries and regions. Over the course of an academic year, the Obama Foundation Scholars will have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and skills and to build new capacities and networks that will accelerate their impact in their home countries.

The Urban Works Innovation Challenge 2018, a joint project of the Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, was designed for passionate individuals and teams to create environmentally sustainable solutions for 21st-century workspaces in India. Funded by the RMZ Foundation and supported by the CoWrks Foundry, applications were invited from India as well as from all departments of Columbia University. The winners included five startups from India, and three from Columbia whose innovations aim to solve problems associated with waste management, energy efficiency, air quality, water pollution, and green infrastructure.    

As a nation with enormous bio-diversity, India needs to protect its ecological resources.  As a rapidly expanding economy, however, it cannot ignore the need for infrastructural development. Public awareness, policy interventions, and creative solutions are required for reconciling conservation of wildlife with the need for expanding landscape connectivity through roads and highways.  To present research findings on these issues, and as part of its program on Environmental Sustainability, Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai organized the first film screening of “From Killer Roads to Humane Highways,” a video sponsored by Science for Nature and People Partnership.  This was accompanied by presentations by Ruth DeFries, Professor of Ecology and Sustainable Development at Columbia University, and Dr. Krithi Karanth from the Centre of Wildlife Studies in Bengaluru. 

Professor Kamel Jedidi visited the Center with his Global Immersion class: https://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/courses/mba/2018/fall/b8707-001 

There were around 30 Columbia students eager to understand how business is conducted in North Africa and willing to help in another Columbia-led project, the Open Start Up Tunisia  (http://www.ost.com.tn) -they volunteered as mentors.

We hosted a meet and greet at the Center for our students, the Columbia alumni living in Tunisia, and our partners.

Columbia Global Centers-Nairobi, in partnership with the No-Boundaries Committee, held the 2018/2019 No-Boundaries International Art Exhibitions to foster global awareness and social responsibility in young citizens around the world.  The exhibition hosted children who had submitted their art work along the theme of ‘One Tree, Once City’.  The Art on display was from Kenya, Brazil, China, USA and France.

The Mission of the art exhibition is to enlighten the future generation’s global awareness and social responsibility through art education. Thus, it is also aimed to cultivate them to become socially responsible Global Citizens.

The name “No-Boundaries” originates from the concept that Art has no boundaries. Thus, the exhibition aims to begin conversations on an international education platform to utilize the power of art and art education to enhance global awareness and social responsibility in future generations around the world.

Without being restrained by nationality, language, or culture, children express their observations and sentiments through their artwork. Therefore, they can learn to understand and respect each other’s differences in a peaceful and amicable manner to develop diverse viewpoints, ultimately become socially responsible Global Citizens

“The No-Boundaries exhibitions exemplify Columbia University’s educational mission by showcasing the artistic talent of young people from many cultures who are actively engaged with issues that affect all peoples regardless of their locale,” said Safwan Masri, executive vice president in charge of the Columbia Global Centers, “This presents a unique opportunity to leverage the power of the arts as a lingua franca that connects human beings across geographical, linguistic, and cultural borders.”

Riara Springs Group of Schools answered our call by allowing their students to participate in the No-Boundaries art exhibition 2018.  About 200 students submitted artwork and 20 pieces were selected to represent the Kenyan entries among those from Brazil, China, France and USA.  The exhibition was a clear indicator that our young people have great ideas on how to preserve the environment and this event acted as a reminder that everyone has a role to play in sustainability.

In 2019 No-Boundaries will be receiving submissions under the theme - 'a drop of water'