By Dan Muchai

In an end-of-semester email message to the university community, the Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza announced that the University will remain closed for the first week of the summer break. This will allow members of the university who are Kenyan citizens, to exercise their democratic right to participate in the General Elections scheduled for Tuesday, August 8 2017.

From Monday, August 7 to Saturday, August 12, all university offices will remain closed with the exception of the Health Center, which will be partially open on Monday August 7, Thursday, August 10 and Friday, August 11 between 8am and 4pm. However, a clinician will remain on call from August 8-9 to deal with any emergencies.

While noting the heightened political atmosphere currently engulfing Kenya, Prof. Zeleza requested all those taking part in the election exercise, to be responsible with their speech, and instead “promote a culture of tolerance” with their fellow citizens.

Noting the celebrated diversity enjoyed within the USIU-Africa community, he pointed out that differences do not have to lead to divisions, but can become an avenue for unity.

In a security advisory issued on Friday, August 4, the security department has also requested all members of the university to undertake extra security measures to ensure their personal safety, before and during Election Day.
By Javier Serrano

Assistant Professor of Spanish & Literature, Javier Serrano, delivered a keynote address at a plenary session of the Centennial Conference of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) held at the Chicago Hilton Hotel from 6-9 July. 

Mr. Serrano, who is the current President of the International Federation of Associations of Teachers of Spanish (FIAPE) – a conglomeration of 18 associations of teachers of Spanish scattered among Africa, America, Asia and Europa, including the Association of Teachers of Spanish-Kenya (ATS-K) – spoke on the impact of the Spanish language has in the United States. The 58 million Spanish-speaking Americans comprise the second-largest language group in the U.S., which in effect makes the United States the second-largest Spanish-speaking population, right after Mexico, and thus the extensive influence of the United States on the future of Spanish.

Since its founding 100 years ago, AATSP has grown to become the oldest and largest of the associations of teachers of Spanish around the world. FIAPE, AATSP and the University of Salamanca are now preparing an International Spanish Conference that will gather over six hundred experts in Salamanca (Spain) from 25-29 June 2018. Mr. Serrano is part of the organizing committee.
The School of Humanities and Social Sciences hosted Professor Nic Cheeseman (Professor of Democracy and International Development, University of Birmingham) for a guest lecture on “Writing a Scholarly Paper for Publication and how to get Published” on Tuesday, August 1 in the DVC-ASA Boardroom.

Professor Cheeseman who works in the fields of comparative politics and development with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa and processes of democratization, has undertaken extensive research addressing a range of questions such as whether populism is an effective strategy of political mobilization, how paying tax changes citizens' attitudes towards democracy and corruption, and the conditions under which ruling parties lose power.

In 2008, his doctoral thesis, "The Rise and Fall of Civil Authoritarianism in Africa", won the Arthur McDougall Dissertation Prize of the Political Studies Association of the UK for the best dissertation on elections, electoral systems or representation. Meanwhile, a recent article, 'Ethnopopulism in Africa: Opposition Mobilization in Diverse and Unequal Societies' [with Miles Larmer] won the Frank Cass Award for the Best Article Published in Democratization (2015).

In addition to these articles, Professor Cheeseman has also published a number of edited collections including Our Turn To Eat: Kenyan Politics Since 1950 (2010), The Handbook of African Politics (2013), and African Politics: Major Works (2016). His first monograph, Democracy in Africa: Successes, Failures and the Struggle for Political Reform was published in March 2015 by Cambridge University Press (CUP). A second monograph, How to Rig An Election, is currently under contract with Yale, while a further edited collection on the importance of formal political institutions in Africa is under contract at CUP.

To date, he has raised over £2 million in research funding for a range of projects including two current Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)- funded studies of the impact of elections in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda and presidentialism in Africa, Latin America, and Post-communist Europe. At the same time, he runs a collaborative research program with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy on the Political Economy of Democracy Promotion and is part of the Media, Conflict and Democratization research consortium that is funded by the European Union.

Prof. Nic Cheeseman was invited to speak to the graduate and doctoral students who are commencing their process of preparing academic papers for publishing in peer-reviewed journals. In his lecture, Prof. Cheeseman began with emphasizing the importance of choosing a topic that is within the author's niche, and a style that matches the topic being tackled. He requested his audience to select a journal that focuses on the selected area of interest, based on the journal's previously published articles, and its editors’ published interests.  Finally, Prof. Cheeseman underlined the need for a strong introduction if the academic paper is to be seriously considered for publishing.

The Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Dr. Tom Onditi who also attended the lecture, thanked Prof. Cheeseman for sparing the time to speak to the students and faculty, while International Relations Program Director Dr. Fatma Ali agreed that there was a significant need for further seminars on academic writing, inviting Prof. Cheeseman back on campus to share his broad academic publishing experience with the students and faculty.
USIU-Africa’s digital repository jumped nine places to emerge third in the latest rankings of the Webometrics Institutional Repository rankings released this month. The repository, which is home to all academic writings produced by students, staff and faculty.

A political communication research conducted by Dr. Kioko Ireri, Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication and Jimmy Ochieng, a graduate student (MA in Communication Studies) has been featured in three national newspapers (Daily Nation, People Daily, and The Star) – in the last one week.

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Mr. Fred Gituku (HR Manager, VIVO Energy – KE) spoke on “Ethics in the Workplace” to members of the Senior Experience (SENEX 4800) class taught by Ms. Christine Muthama on Tuesday, July 11.

In pursuit of a core university outcome – preparedness for career - the Placement and Career Services Office organized for two guest lectures for members of the Senior Experience (SENEX 4800) and the Investments (FIN4030) classes, on Thursday, July 11.

Radio and television journalist Mrs. Amina Abdi Rabar, was hosted at the Lillian K. Beam’s TV studio by the USIU 99.9 FM team on Wednesday July 26, as part of the station’s Radio Mentorship Program.

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Students participate in an art therapy class led by Doctor of Psychology PsyD, Clinical Psychology student Ms. Nyawira Kuria (right) on Tuesday, July 25 in a Counseling Center meeting room located in the Freida Brown Student Center.

Photo: Antonio Longangi

The final session of this semester’s art therapy was held on Tuesday, July 25 in the Counseling Center’s group meeting room. Art therapy is a form of self-expression utilizing the creative process of drawing, coloring and other forms of modeling, as a way of improving a person's physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

AIESEC USIU-Africa will be holding its first Stakeholders Dinner on Saturday, July 29 at Park Inn by Radisson Westlands.

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Principal Fundraising Officer Mr. Eannes Ongus delivers his official address during the Thanksgiving Ceremony at Roysambu Primary School on Friday, July 21.

On Friday, July 21, Principal Fundraising Officer Mr. Eannes Ongus represented the Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza during the thanksgiving ceremony at Roysambu Primary School. The annual event is held to thank the School’s parents, teachers, students and other partners for their support during the previous 12 months.