Uniting Students Across Continents through Columbia's Global Collaboratory on Africa

Growing global interest in Africa as the Columbia Global Collaboratory - Africa series, attracts 44 students from 13 countries.

October 18, 2023

Africa, home to a population of over 1 billion people, remains a focal point of research and curiosity, capturing the attention of not only its citizens but also individuals around the globe. This burgeoning interest is particularly evident among students and young professionals, as demonstrated by the recently concluded Columbia Global Collaboratory Africa seminar series. The Collaboratory, an initiative by Columbia's Center for Undergraduate Global Engagement, attracted more than 44 students from 13 diverse countries, representing 16 universities from  Africa, Asia, and Europe. 

The Nairobi Center partnered with the Collaboratory and the City Diplomacy Lab  and designed the Fall 2023 Global Columbia Collaboratory on Flourishing African Cities: Urban Development, Food Systems, and Clean Energy. This initiative has been acclaimed as the most extensive Collaboratory endeavor to date. The program showcased three enlightening seminars led by esteemed experts in climate change and energy, distinguished professors specializing in architecture, diplomacy, and food systems, as well as insightful analysts focusing on emerging markets. These seminars included:

  1. Rethinking Food Systems in Africa: which underscored the importance of promoting natural, local foods and sustainability, laying the foundation for building healthier urban environments
  2. Reimagining African Cities: This highlighted factors needed to create thriving, long-lasting, adaptable, and inclusive African cities open to the world.
  3. Providing Safe and Affordable Cooking Energy in African Cities: which explored solutions for African urban households to obtain secure and affordable cooking energy, addressing an issue critical for the wellbeing of our cities.

Following these seminars, the students will reflect, ideate, and collaborate with Non-Governmental Organizations in Kenya to learn, discuss, and raise awareness about the strategic work being done in African cities around urban development, food systems and clean energy. The Center is enthusiastic about sharing some of the students' experiences during this phase of the Collaboratory as it unfolds.