Columbia University’s President Lee C. Bollinger visits the Nairobi Center
Columbia University's Global Centers were founded to connect the local-regional, continental to the global through dialogue, engagement, and collaboration. This collaboration through higher education research and concerted participation is the approach to global challenges and seek comprehensive redress through collaborative approaches. President Lee C Bollinger echoed these sentiments during his annual tour of the Nairobi Center this January. The Center was honored to host President Lee C. Bollinger who was accompanied by Jean M. Bollinger-Artist, Prof. Safwan Masri, Executive Vice President for the Global Centers and Global Development and Susan Glancy, Chief of Staff, Office of the President, Columbia University.
During a media briefing at the Center, President Bollinger, Prof. Masri and Center Director Dr. Murugi Ndirangu, highlighted the regional impact of the Center and its cross-learning and teaching opportunities including increased faculty, student and alumni engagements across the Center through the President’s Global Innovation Fund (PGIF). They highlighted the diverse interest initiative in the region from health initiatives in Pediatrics, Dentistry, Nursing, the inter-university- Africa Nutritional Sciences Research Consortium (ANSRC), African Philosophy, Journalism and the Arts. Similarly the Center has partnered with various school across the campus such the Chazen Business School, with student visits to the region to interact with multiple key business leaders, The Earth Institute on the Peace and Social Justice Fellowship, Teacher's College on various projects working with Teacher and Learners in Crisis and Emergency contexts, the School of Professional Studies, the ‘No Boundaries Art Exhibition’ that invokes the power of Art in children to articulate critical contexts around them to a global audience, among others.
The Role of Higher Education in Economic Development:
President Lee Bollinger hosted an extensive roundtable session with key leaders in the higher education sector in the region. As part of the visit, President was keen to interact with stakeholder and hear more on the challenges and existing gaps within the sector to pivot Columbia University’s interactions and inventions within the region. President Lee C. Bollinger reiterated “Columbia University and the Global Centers mandate in the region is based on the concept of intellectual modesty, and there is so much we can learn from the world to enable institutions of higher learning particularly on emerging challenges, research, and solutions." Columbia University embraces the ideology on expanding the education and research rigor and collaborates on tackling global challenges. Moreover, as the world seems more interconnected now more than ever through improved infrastructure, technological advances, trade and immigration, borders are being redefined, and global challenges are now shared. President Bollinger reiterated the University’s support of the sector through the Nairobi Center through the collaboration with local Universities in increased research, strengthening the leadership of Higher Institutions, collaborate on strengthening policy to create an eco-systems of qualified faculty and increasing the quality of global competitive graduates, as solution providers as shared problems dictates a unified approach to working toward its solutions.
Global health is dynamic, and it is here on the ‘ground' that universities have great collaboration and integration to work on challenges that impact us on a global perspective. These were the sentiments as President Bollinger and the team during a briefing at the ICAP offices in Nairobi. ICAP through Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health strives for a world where health is available for all. ICAP roots are in comprehensive, and family-focused HIV services and high performing standards. ICAP officials including Dr. Wafaa El Sadr, Global Director, Dr. Mark Hawken Country Director, Kenya, Dorothy Ny’ongo, First Lady Kisumu County and Dr. Cook, CDC-Country Director-Kenya were on hand during the interactive visit to the Nairobi Office. The team highlighted the intricate programs and interventions At all levels of those who are infected, affected, their caregivers, governments and global partners. The ICAP team shared encouraging statistics within the critical indicators against the fight of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which include the decrease in new infections, decreased mother to child infections, increased viral load suppression rates and increased education psycho-social effects of the epidemic including de-stigmitazation within society and generally improved livelihoods across the communities. As Science continues to fight the challenges of including the rise of other non-communicable diseases such as cancer, decrease in funding the world as the search towards a cure is sought.
Manufacturing and Circular Economy-Ciiru Waweru Waithaka and Fun Kidz Ltd
Ciiru Waweru Waithaka an interior architect by training is passionate about Early Childhood Education and particularly the ‘learning environment” both physical and psychological we create for children and our youth. President Lee Bollinger had the opportunity to tour the ‘Funkidz Workshop' in the Gitaru area on the outskirts of Nairobi. The group interacted with Ciiru and her team and learned the different facets of her enterprise and immerse in the art, business, management and the ‘village' that make it happen. Ciiru reiterated her passion on about creating to create a home-grown solution to challenges around us. She also believes and demonstrates that children have a role in creating solutions, involve them and they rise to the challenge. Through "Kidz Go Tech" and education program that encourages children to not only think and use technology but also curve out solutions for everyday challenges. Ciiru notes that "children often need the space and nudge to explore, and when they start early, we have seen their up-take toward Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) is significantly higher, and the experiences are often improved. President Bollinger noted that Chiru's expertise and passion would be instrumental to the region and how we interact and teach the next generation.
Ciiru has received various awards, and honors: In 2016, Ciiru received a special commendation from First Lady Michelle Obama for her mission to impact her community through her works that spurs and builds capacity in Youth and Children. Ciiru, a member of the Columbia Global Center I Nairobi Advisory Board, wants to continue the discussions around Youth Empowerment through education and skill training and in the process change mindsets to works towards creating an innovative home-grown solution to challenges around us.
Image Carousel with 2 slides
A carousel is a rotating set of images. Use the previous and next buttons to change the displayed slide
Slide 1: Prof. Wafaa El Sadr, President Lee C. Bollinger and Dorothy Ny’ongo, First Lady, Kisumu County-Kenya during a briefing in the Situation room for the ongoing Kenya population HIV impact on households to guide government and policy survey undertaken by ICAP/KENHIA
Slide 2: President Lee C. Bollinger with Ciiru Waweru Waithaka during a tour of the Fun Kidz Ltd Workshop that embraces the Circular Economy for the manufacture of children’s furniture and “green classrooms” on the outskirts of Nairobi.