A record number of nationalities participated in this year’s cultural bonanza - Culture Week - held from March 13-15 behind the cafeteria and next to the hockey pitch.
From the exhibition to the concert performances, students, faculty and staff caught a glimpse of the melting pot of cultures that are represented within the University community.
The Week launched with an exhibition from twenty-six national communities who each set up a stand behind the cafeteria, showcasing their artifacts, dances, food and other aspects of their culture.
The Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza joined the cultural parade on Wednesday, March 14, as it snaked its way from the Science Center to the Cafeteria, comprising student delegations from such countries as Central Africa Republic, China, India, Japan, Kenya, Nigeria, Norway, Somalia, Rwanda, United Arab Emirates, among others.
Speaking at the launch ceremony following the parade, Prof. Zeleza remarked on the wonderful opportunities provided by Culture Week to bring members of the University from diverse backgrounds together, in appreciation of their rich cultural heritage. He pointed that of all University events, Culture Week possessed a unique ability to create harmonious co-existence among the over 70 nationalities represented within the University community.
During the Culture Week Concert, fifteen communities showcased their dances and attire to an audience of almost 2000 students, faculty and staff who turned up despite the incessant rain.
Representatives from ten nationalities scooped awards in recognition of their outstanding participation over the course of the three-day festival. The Best Represented Community (Performance) was awarded to the South Sudanese community who performed an eccentric dance that captured the attention of the crowd. Rwanda and Burundi took second and third place respectively.
India took home the Award for the Best Represented Community (Exhibition), followed by the Arabic community and the Somali community in that order. This category recognized how well the communities executed their exhibition space, and the level of interactivity that they had with their audiences.
Students from Uganda clinched the Award for Best Researched Community, for their skit about a traditional marriage ceremony, while Nigeria and Tanzania took up first and second runners-up positions respectively.
The Incubation and Innovation Center in collaboration with Gearbox Limited, organized a mini-hackathon dubbed “Exposathon” on Saturday, March 10 at their offices on the third floor of the Freida Brown Student Center.

Focused on the use of specific next-generation technologies, the exposathon comprised four teams of students using rapid prototyping, to work on four different projects.

Rapid prototyping is a technique used at the Incubation and Innovation Center to rapidly transition student projects from idea, to proof-of-concept, to a functional prototype, with the goal to publicly launch the product and create upwardly-scalable product activities. This kind of hardware development would ordinarily require an extended period of research and development and would call for significant upfront investment. But with the help of IoT devices, 3D printers and other low-cost prototyping techniques, students now have the chance to experiment with something new and leave room for error.

Each of the four teams went through a process of ideation within allocated four-hour window focused on certain areas; air quality monitoring by sensing for public awareness and policy making, wildlife monitoring for poaching prevention using a convergence of IoT (Internet of Things), satellite communication and artificial intelligence; IoT (Internet of Things) for deforestation prevention, and lastly making greenhouses intelligent by automating the process. The hackathon was aptly named 4:44, smartly referring to the challenge of 4 teams given 4 hours to prototype 4 projects, beginning at 10am with an hour’s break for lunch.

Based on how well the project ideas were defined, justified and implemented, Ms. Grace Owiti and Mr. Vishaal Ravalia, were awarded fully-funded training scholarships at Gearbox worth KES 70,000 and while the rest won a partial training scholarship worth KES 55,000. Gearbox Limited is a rapid prototyping center, with a mission to impact the economy positively by employing technical innovation round IoT, Robotics, Blockchain, AI and 3D printing and virtual reality.
It was a victorious end for our various ladies’ sports teams who took part in the Kenya University Sports Association (KUSA) Women Championship. Our hockey team clinched gold, while the karate team won silver and the taekwondo, basketball and lawn tennis teams each brought back a bronze medal.

In other competitions, the men’s hockey team beat Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (JKUAT) 2-0 while their female counterparts were held to a goalless draw ay the JKUAT ladies team in the ongoing KUSA League on Saturday, March 17 at Kenyatta University. Both teams will travel to western town of Kitale, for the Nabungolo Peace Tournament this coming weekend.

The ladies’ basketball team triumphed over Mt. Kenya University and Daystar University on Saturday, March 17 in the KUSA League at Kenyatta University. Joined by their male counterparts, the team will participate in the Tom Munyama Tournament on Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25 at Strathmore University.

The men’s rugby team will this weekend travel to Eldoret to play against Moi University in the ongoing Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) Championship. This follows the team’s goalless draw against Egerton University and defeat at the hands of Championship leaders - Menengai Oilers - on Saturday, March 11 in Nakuru.
Two teams taught by Ms. Sarah Ambiyo (Lecturer of English) and Dr. Martin Mburu (Assistant Professor of English), debated “With the advent of the Internet and the simplicity of Google, do you think the library is still necessary for the 21st century student?” on Friday, March 9 and Monday, March 12.

The debates were hosted by the Library and Information Center, for students in the SUS1010 Strategies for Success classes, as part of a concerted push this semester, to develop a ‘library use culture’ among students, by making library presentations in classrooms, and hosting class visits at the Library.
The Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza made a presentation on “Diaspora Partnerships and Transformation of Africa’s HEIs,”at the The Alliance for African Partnership and the University Cheikh Anta Diop Higher Education Forum, held at the Radisson Blu in the Senegalese capital of Dakar, on Tuesday, February 27.

The forum was organized by The Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) at Michigan State University (MSU) and the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar (UCAD, to bring together key leaders of institutions in Africa and MSU, doing innovative work in the field of transforming African higher education to share ideas, address key topical areas and discuss future trajectories in this area.

The panel provided a learning opportunity and engagement between African leadership and scholars and the AAP to cocreate priorities for African higher education that will contribute to shaping AAP’s future activities in the area of transforming institutions.
A delegation of 35 USIU-Africa students attended the 64th Session of the Harvard National Model United Nations Conference, hosted by Harvard University, held in downtown Boston from Thursday, February 15, through Sunday, February 18, 2018.

The Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN) is the “largest, oldest, and most prestigious conference of its kind”, bringing together over 3,000 students and faculty together from colleges and universities around the world to simulate the activities of the United Nations.

The delegation represented Norway, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Ghana as well as UN Special Agencies at the conference, where one of three entries in USIU-Africa’s very first participation in the Conference’s social venture competition, made it to the finals.

The Conference, which is run by Harvard College undergraduates, is designed to provide insight into the workings of the United Nations by providing delegates with the opportunity to actively participate in the resolution of important global issues, through the simulation of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, regional bodies and specialized agencies of the United Nations.

The delegates acompanied by their Faculty Advisors (Assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Oscar Githua and Associate Dean Dr. Margaret Mulinge), also made time to visit the United Nations headquarters in New York, where they interacted with staffers (including those from Kenya), and received sound career advice.

The team also travelled to the U.S. capital - Washington D.C. – where they participated in the 38th International Model African Union Conference, hosted by Howard University. Representing Rwanda, Somalia and Egypt, the team made history as the first time a university in Africa had presented a delegation at the Conference. This was a culmination of a two-year effort initiated by Dr. Githua to acquire delegate status.

According to Dr. Githua, the nine awards scooped by the delegates – the highest of any delegation – sent a statement to the world that,” The education offered in Africa, and especially at USIU-Africa, is as good as, and in many instances better than that offered in many foreign universities!”

He also attributed the overwhelming interest expressed by other universities represented at the Conference, in partnerships and exchange programs with USIU-Africa, as “…a true testament of the impact that we had during our assignment.”
On Thursday, March 15, Dr. Rachael Diang’a (Assistant Professor of Film) accompanied by several journalism students, joined film directors, faculty and students for a seminar themed “A Strong Tourism Industry: A strength in development of a vibrant film industry in East Africa” at the Safaricom Michael Joseph Centre in Nairobi.

The event aimed to recruit interested students, lecturers and experts in the film industry, to plan and participate in the Elsa Film Festival, and provide a platform for participants to network and learn from each other. The Elsa Film Festival, which derives its name from the legendary lioness featured in the classic movie - Born Free (1966) - is a flagship project of the WESTLANDS FILM DISTRICT designed to promote film-induced tourism concept in the East African region, expected to take place later this year.

USIU-Africa’s attendance was against the backdrop of the ongoing recruitment of the inaugural class of the Bachelor of Arts in Film Production and Editing, and the Bachelor of Arts in Animation, to be offered by the School of Communication, Cinematic and Creative Arts
On Thursday, March 15, Dr. Rachael Diang’a (Assistant Professor of Film) accompanied by several journalism students, joined film directors, faculty and students for a seminar themed “A Strong Tourism Industry: A strength in development of a vibrant film industry in East Africa” at the Safaricom Michael Joseph Centre in Nairobi.

The event aimed to recruit interested students, lecturers and experts in the film industry, to plan and participate in the Elsa Film Festival, and provide a platform for participants to network and learn from each other. The Elsa Film Festival, which derives its name from the legendary lioness featured in the classic movie - Born Free (1966) - is a flagship project of the WESTLANDS FILM DISTRICT designed to promote film-induced tourism concept in the East African region, expected to take place later this year.

USIU-Africa’s attendance was against the backdrop of the ongoing recruitment of the inaugural class of the Bachelor of Arts in Film Production and Editing, and the Bachelor of Arts in Animation, to be offered by the School of Communication, Cinematic and Creative Arts
In an email to the University community, on March 19, the Associate DVC-Academic Affairs Prof. Munyae Mulinge announced a change of date for the 40th Commencement Ceremony.

Following a resolution of the University Senate, beginning 2018, the annual commencement ceremony will be held on the last Saturday of September - which this year, will be September 29.

Applications have thus been invited for those completing their degree requirements by end of the Spring and Summer semesters to apply for graduation by Monday, April 16 either through email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or by visitng the Office of the Registrar, on the first floor of the Freida Brown Student Center.
USIU-Africa in partnership with the United States Embassy in Kenya hosted members of the fourth estate for a discussion on “Fake News” at the Incubation and Innovation Center on Wednesday, March 14.

The roundtable was part of a yearlong media literacy campaign #StopReflectVerify launched on the same day by U.S. Ambassador to Kenya H.E. Robert F. Godec.

Fake news has come to refer to deliberate misinformation or hoaxes created to deceive and thus influence views, push agendas or cause confusion. In “The Reality of Fake News in Kenya” - a study by Portland and Geopoll based on the 2017 Kenyan General Elections, it was revealed that 90% of Kenyans were exposed to fake news concerning the elections, while 87% reported instances of deliberate fake news.

During the media roundtable, participants drawn from the Nation Media Group and the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) were shown how to detect fake news, examples of common channels used to spread fake news, tools to use to curb fake news, and the legal implications on spreading fake news.

Dr. Maria Canudo (Assistant Professor of Journalism) encouraged participants to stop, reflect and verify before sharing any information on social media. She pointed out the need to consider the possible negative impact the misuse of the power of information can have on the ordinary person’s life, as well as the unnecessary confusion and hardship it can cause.

Mr. Eric Mugendi, Managing Editor at PesaCheck - East Africa’s first public finance fact-checking initiative – previewed the services and products Pesacheck offered, that can assist individuals or groups to identify and analyze claims made by the public about financial organizations. Mr. Vincent Ng’ethe, an Editor with AfricaCheck Kenya, spoke about how AfricaCheck’s role in sorting out fact from fiction, protected democracy by holding public figures accountable regarding what they say and do.

Also, present at the event was the Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza, Ms. Kristin Kneedler (Cultural Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy), Dr. Stephen Kimotho (Program Director, Journalism and Communication Studies), among others.

The media roundtable was organized as a run-up to the Social Media Lab which will be launched here on campus on Thursday, April 5 by Ambassador Godec.

The lab is an interdisciplinary center which will undertake research in big data and social media analytics, by blending theoretical frameworks and analysis from academia, with experiences from corporate organizations, Government and civil society using the IBM Watson Analytics for Social Media software.