Kenya Partners With American HBCUs for STEM Exchange Program

The two countries intend to exchange students and faculty from partnering historically Black colleges and universities and Kenyan universities.
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Published on June 6, 2024
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  • Kenyan President William Ruto visited Spelman College to announce an exchange partnership between Kenyan universities and several historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the U.S.
  • Ruto said that the gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is worse in Kenya, and he wants to encourage and increase women's participation in the field.
  • The U.S. is also committing $3.3 million to support 60 Kenyan students to study at top U.S. universities for one semester.

Kenya is partnering with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the Eastern Seaboard to enhance student and faculty exchanges.

Kenyan President William Ruto visited women's HBCU Spelman College in Atlanta on May 21 to announce a faculty and student exchange program to enhance science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in the U.S. and Kenya.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC), representatives from Spelman, Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, and Howard University signed the agreement.

In an increasingly technology-driven world, STEM is the bedrock of innovation and progress, and a workforce skilled in STEM is essential for economists which aspire to become progressive and also to become sustainable, Ruto said to the audience at Spelman.

Spelman President Helene Gayle told the AJC that the details of the partnership still need to be ironed out. She hopes Spelman students can learn in Kenyan schools and vice versa.

Ruto said he is concerned about the underrepresentation of women in STEM, as there is a large gender gap in Kenya from education to the workforce. He said he's excited to leverage the new partnership to inspire more female participation and leadership in STEM.

Let us, therefore, stand together in a common endeavor to build a bridge that will lead present and future generations to prosperity. Our commitment to empowering a new generation of leaders with the necessary competencies will ensure a bright future for both the U.S. and Kenya, Ruto said near the end of his speech.

Additionally, through faculty and student exchanges, we stand to benefit immensely from deeper cross-cultural knowledge-sharing, mutual understanding, and, of course, solidarity among people.

Clinton White, counselor for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), also announced a $3.3 million commitment from the U.S. government to support 60 Kenyan students at top U.S. universities for one semester.

The 60 students reflect the 60 years of partnership between Kenya and the U.S. since the student airlift partnership began.

Spelman already has strong ties and engagement in several African countries, and that's why we are so happy to be deepening this relationship with Kenya, Gayle told the audience.

As you know, HBCUs, historically Black colleges and universities, are beacons of economic and social mobility for people of African descent.