Kenyan ambassador to address conference at BGSU


BOWLING GREEN, O.—The Kenyan Ambassador to the U.S., Jean Njeri Kamau, will attend the sixth annual Kenyan Scholars and Studies Association (KESSA) Conference at Bowling Green State University Sept. 6 and 7. This year’s theme is “Kenya@50,” in recognition of the anniversary of the East African nation’s independence from England.

The conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in 201 and 207 Bowen-Thompson Student Union.

Kamau’s visit will also include the first public forum in a new series at BGSU called Global Engagement, designed to bring foreign ambassadors to campus to expand students’ educational and career horizons. Her talk will be held from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Sept. 5 in 206 Bowen-Thompson Student Union, with time for questions and a reception to follow. Admission is free and open to the public.

Kenya is an appropriate country to launch the series, according to KESSA president Dr. Kefa Otiso, a BSGU associate professor of geography and director of the Global Village learning community. Since its independence in 1963, Kenya has been one of the United States’ most important allies in Africa, and is important to American foreign policy. The country adopted a new constitution very similar to the United States’ following a 2010 referendum. It is fast becoming a technology hub and a number of major U.S. and international businesses and agencies have offices there.

KESSA is an independent, nonprofit professional association established for the exclusive purpose of advancing scholarly, scientific and research work on the Republic of Kenya.

At the conference, students, scholars and others with an interest in Kenya will gather to present their research, discuss issues and network with one another.

Kamau has over 20 years’ experience working in both civil society and the public sector. Her career interests have been in women’s rights, governance, institutional management and organizational development. She served as the first executive director of both the Federation of Women Lawyers Kenya (1992-2000) and the National Public Complaints Standing Committee (“The Ombudsman”) (2007-08). Between July 2003-December 2006, she consulted on security sector reforms in the Ministry of Internal Security and Provincial Administration.

She also has worked for several international agencies that include Womankind International, a charity based in the United Kingdom that supports women’s empowerment through sustainable development initiatives. In addition she has consulted for several United Nations agencies in Geneva, Addis Ababa and Nairobi.

In 2008, she joined Action Aid International as the Country Director for Kenya and in 2011 was deployed to Lesotho. In 2012, Ambassador Kamau was retained by the United Nations Development Programme’s civil society democratic governance facility as an institutional development consultant.

Kamau holds a master’s degree in law from Aberdeen University, Scotland, and a master’s in democratic studies, from Leeds University, U.K.

Also speaking at the conference will be Charles Nyachae, chairperson of the Commission for the Implementation of the (Kenyan) Constitution, and Dr. George Imbanga Godia, immediate past permanent secretary of the Kenyan Ministry of Education.

Nyachae is a lawyer who has practiced commercial and property law for over 26 years and also has vast experience in human rights, democracy and electoral laws. A graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science and a former council member of the Law Society of Kenya, Nyachae has chaired the Kenya chapter of the International Commission for Jurists and has also been the chairperson of the Institute for Education and Democracy. He formerly served as a commissioner with the Kenya Law Review Commission and sits on the board of the Center for Governance and Democracy.

Godia has demonstrated a lifelong dedication to and expertise in the expansion of access to education throughout the world. He received a Ph.D. in education and international relations and a master’s degree in international affairs in development studies and economics from Ohio University. He taught as a professor of education for over a decade at Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya.

Godia is sought after for advice and service by officials seeking to increase access to Education for All (EFA) in their own countries. He has presented papers on topics such as the scaling up of resource mobilization and aid effectiveness for EFA, girls and adult female literacy, “bold initiatives” of abolishing school fees in Kenya, and the process and challenges in the implementation of the Free Primary Education Policy in Kenya.

For more information on the conference, contact Otiso at kmotiso@bgsu.edu.

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(Posted August 28, 2013 )