Conference looks at Kenya

BOWLING GREEN, O.—The Kenyan ambassador to the United States, Elkanah Odembo, will give the keynote address at this year’s Kenya Scholars and Studies Association (KESSA) conference, to be held Sept. 17 and 18 at Bowling Green State University.

The theme of the third annual conference is “Kenya at the Crossroads of Globalization.” Scholars from around the country and from Kenya will discuss aspects of such topics as “State Formation, Security and Corruption,” “Health,” and “Women, Religion and the Elderly.”

Ambassador Odembo comes to Washington after serving as the ambassador of the Republic of Kenya to France since January 2009. Before representing Kenya abroad, he held senior-level positions at philanthropic and non-governmental organizations in East Africa for more than two decades. Advocating for human rights and social justice has always been at the core of his work.

He was the founding director of Ufadhili Trust, a Nairobi-based organization that promotes philanthropy; the use of local resources for social development, especially through corporate social responsibility; cross-sector partnerships; technical assistance, and policy research.

In June, Odembo received the Common Good Award from his alma mater, Bowdoin College.

Community members wishing to attend the luncheon keynote address in 201 Bowen-Thompson Student Union on Sept. 17 may submit $12 through Paypal for the lunch at http://kessa.org/2010_conference (scroll down to the "Keynote Speaker Luncheon" option). Checks can also be made out to KESSA and sent to the Department of Geography, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403-0187.

For more information on the conference, email KESSA President Kefa Otiso at kmotiso@bgsu.edu

Led by Otiso, a BSGU associate professor of geography, KESSA is an independent, nonprofit professional association established for the exclusive purpose of advancing scholarly, scientific and research work on the Republic of Kenya. 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 an Aug. 4 referendum.

"President Obama, whose father was from Kenya, and Vice-President Biden actively supported the passage of the new constitution, which analysts believe will put Kenya on the fast track to social and economic development," Otiso said.

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(Posted September 09, 2010 )