USIU-Africa alumnus Mr. George Omondi Obell (International Business Administration-Accounting '01) was the first Kenyan to be appointed to the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax matters (ECOSOC).

Mr Obell, a Chief Manager at Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA)’s International Tax Office, joined 24 other members who were selected from a pool of 60 nominees from across the world to be part of the committee for a period of four years. The new membership of ECOSOC, includes individuals from India, Japan, China, Brazil, Singapore, Russia, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Colombia, Poland, Vietnam, Thailand, Jamaica, Argentina, Switzerland, Ecuador, Sweden, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Djibouti and Zambia.

ECOSOC is one of the six main organs of the global organization established by the UN Charter in 1946. It is the principal body for coordination, policy review, policy dialogue and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues, as well as for implementation of the internationally agreed development goals. It is responsible for updating important UN international tax documents, which form the basis of many countries tax laws and tax treaty negotiations. The documents include the UN’s model double taxation convention between developed and developing countries, the practical manual on transfer pricing for developing countries and the manual for the negotiation of bilateral tax treaties between developed and developing countries.
Dr. Nancy Asiko Anyango, a member of the inaugural class of the Doctor of Business Administration, was appointed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in December 2017, to be the new Director of the monetary body's Office of Internal Audit and Inspection (OIA) effective February 2018. The unit is charged with conducting independent examinations of the Fund’s internal control and governance processes.

Dr. Anyango, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), holds several additional international certifications from global institutions including the Information Systems Audit and Control Association and the Institute of Internal Auditors.

Before her appointment, Dr. Anyango was the CEO of Reliance Risk Advisory Solutions, and has also been previously a Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (Kenya) as well as Ernest & Young’s Governance, Risk and Compliance Leader for Africa. She currently sits on the boards of KCB Bank Group and Cytonn Investments.
The School of Humanities and Social Sciences in partnership with the National Crime Research Center, Kenya School of Government (KSG), Open Society Initiative East Africa (OSIEA), World Bank and Coffey International organized a Crime and Violence Prevention Workshop from January 15-19 at the Kenya School of Government.

The workshop which is sponsored by the World Bank sought to build the capacity of stakeholders in crime and violence prevention in the country to conduct crime and violence prevention training in their places of work and residence.

The workshop targeted current practitioners of crime and violence prevention including key national and county government officials from relevant ministries/departments including but not limited to Internal Security, Children’s Welfare, Judiciary, the National Police Service, and Correctional Services, as well as representatives of non-state actors including the private sector, religious organizations, community groups, non-governmental organizations, academia, and the media. 

The Executive Director of the National Crime Research Center, Mr. Gerald Wandera, provided insight on crime in Kenya, expounding on its various features, patterns and consequences. He also illustrated how the fear of crime and violence shapes social behavior, while emphasizing the equal rights enjoyed by both victims and perpetrators.

 Dr. Kennedy Agade (Assistant Professor of International Relations), also expounded on elements of crime and prevention, the old adage - prevention is better than cure. Explaining how desire, ability and opportunity form the three pillars of violence, he cautioned his audience that, “These pillars act best in an environment with weak institution, fiscal constraints and political resistance”.

The workshop is part of the Crime and Violence Prevention Training (CVPT) program run jointly by the University, KSG and NCRC, and seeks to redress the vacuum in and lack of sophistication of the crime and violence prevention discourse in Kenya.  It seeks to promote policy and public discourse on crime and violence prevention and safety in Kenya, to explore strategies, tools and methods of crime and violence prevention and to facilitate the emergence of a multi-sector group of actors engaged in crime and violence prevention in Kenya.

The program also takes advantage of the opportunity provided by the promulgation of the 2010 Kenya Constitution, particularly the decentralization of the system of government (devolution), to sensitize administrative cadres in Kenya and policy makers on the need to engage community actors and indigenous local assemblies in crime and violence prevention initiatives. 

Participants were drawn from the national and county governments, civil society and academia to learn about crime and violence prevention in Kenya.
The Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza, has invited to the entire university to a baraza on Wednesday, November 15 beginning at 12.30pm. The hour-long meeting in the auditorium will provide the university community with key findings of the institutional self-study report to be submitted to the WASC Senior College and University Commission in support of the re-affirmation of USIU-Africa’s accreditation, which began in January this year.

Accreditation is a process of external quality review which serves to assure students, parents, policymakers, the broader educational community, and the general public that an institution has met high standards of effectiveness. USIU-Africa is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) - one of seven regional accrediting agencies in the United States. A major benefit of USIU-Africa’s accreditation is that credits and degrees are recognized for purposes of employment and transfer or admission to other institutions in the United States. Significantly, USIU-Africa’s accreditation is a testament to the rigorous international quality standards the university has maintained since 2005.

Every six, eight, or ten years, institutions accredited by WSCUC are reviewed to reaffirm their accreditation status. The two- to three-year process of reaffirmation of accreditation usually involves the completion of an institutional self-study and institutional report, an off-site review by WSCUC, and an on-site visit from the WSCUC team. 

The meeting will also conclude by addressing the next steps in the process.
13 contestants have been selected for the final of this year’s Mr. and Miss USIU-Africa-Africa beauty pageant. The contestants showcased their modeling skills and unique talents at a  ‘pre-judging’ event held on Thursday, November 2 in a packed and highly-energized auditorium.

The program started with an introductory walk by each of the contestants, to highlight their skill on the runway, followed by a ‘personality walk’ where each contestant expressed their unique style on the conventional runway walk. Contestants then paired up to perform a ‘couple walk’ and thereafter, each showcase their talents. In between the walks were performances by the dance club and some local musicians.

The panel of judges consisting of former Mr & Miss USIU-Africa 2016 Mr. Akintomide Akinyemi (IST, 17) Miss Kalpa Vrikshika (APT, ’17) and Miss Sheila Kanini selected finalist based on the contestants’ talents and their overall performance since the campaign began.

The ladies that secured their spot in the finale are Blessing Bakashaba (IR, Junior), Joycekayla Kiarie (IR, Sophomore), Mehreen Ahamed (Pharmacy, Sophomore), Mercy Onyango (Journalism Junior), Mercy Mwiti (IBA, Junior), Akual Chan (Criminal Justice Studies, Sophomore) Nelly Maina (Finance, Sophomore) and Eugenia Ignatius (IBA, Junior) . The gentlemen who qualified for the final are Aakash  Barot (APT, Junior), Faizal Ahmed (HRM, Freshman), Eric Ogwen (IR, Freshman), Caleb Prosper (IBA, Sophomore), Joseph Gordon (APT, Freshman), Adan Mohamed  (Accounting, Sophomore) and Denver Bagaka (IBA, Sophomore).

The talent showcase was won by Aakash  Barot (APT, Junior), Mercy Onyango (Journalism Junior), Mercy Mwiti (IBA, Junior), Eric Ogwen(IR Freshman), Joseph Gordon (APT, Freshman), Adan Mohamed (Accounting, Sophomore)  and Nelly Maina (Finance, Sophomore).

Kiambuthu Murugu (IR, Sophomore), one of the unsuccessful contestants was hopeful despite the disappointing showing, “I’m disappointed but I will keep looking out for more beauty pageant opportunities because this is what I love to do.”

This year the goal of the ‘pre-judging’ event is to raise funds for Al Taawon Education Center, a decrepit school located in the informal settlement of Korogocho, Nairobi. ­The Center lacks basic infrastructure for proper learning, a situation the pageant’s organizing committee is seeking to remedy by raising funds through the pageant. So far, they have raised a KES 100,000 – a far cry from their KES 4 million target. Despite this, the committee has high hopes of bridging this gap by securing the necessary sponsorships, coupled with high ticket sales before and during the pageant finale. The finale is scheduled for Thursday, November 23 at Nairobi’s newest mall - Two Rivers Shopping Mall, marking the end of the four-month-long campaign.
The New Economic Venture Accelerator (NEVA) has organized a Design Thinking for Business Innovation training sessions for NEVA members to equip them entrepreneurs with practical design thinking skills.

The training is conducted by Mr. Stanley Gichobi and Mr. Caesar Tuva, both of whom are co-founders of XD academy - an organization focused on training the next generation of social entrepreneurs and product developers by helping them understand the framework, logic and art behind user experience.

Each training session involves an introduction of different design thinking principles, which is followed by group discussions, focused on applying those principles to each group member’s enterprise.

The sessions, began on Thursday, October 5, and will run every Thursday at the Innovation & Incubation Center’s Research Lab. The objective of the training is to equip entrepreneurs with practical design thinking skills, design thinking is human cantered approach used in learning, collaboration and problem solving.

During each training entrepreneurs are taken through different design thinking principles then divided into groups where they work on applying those principles to their business and discuss with each other. Group members are then expected to apply the solutions they discussed, the present the benefits and challenges they faced in the next session.

NEVA is the university’s venture accelerator, which was formed with the purpose of assisting students and alumni who have existing businesses or harboring business ideas, to solve current challenges or develop their ideas to fruition. Entrepreneurs are also provided with a working space at the Innovation and Incubation Center, on the third floor of the Freida Brown Student Center. Here, they can host business meetings as well as connect with other entrepreneurs.
The HeForShe club screened The Mask You Live In on Wednesday, October 11 at the Freida Brown Student Center. The 2015 award-winning documentary film was written, directed, and produced by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, to discuss identity based on gender and in particular, masculinity.

In the documentary, boys and young men struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating the narrow definition of masculinity. Though the film explores what Ms. Newsom perceived to be harmful notions of masculinity in the American culture, “There are many similarities available in our African societies,” noted HeForShe Club Secretary Miss Joy Nyokabi.

According to Ms. Nyokabi, the club’s agenda is to hold discussions around movies and documentaries related to gender and depicting real life situations as experienced by men and women in African society.

The screening was followed by a brief discussion facilitated by Associate Professor of Philosophy Dr. Ngure Wa Mwachofi and basketball coach Harrison Kaudia, which explored masculinity in Africa in relation to gender roles, careers, sports as well as emotional intelligence.

The audience mainly composed of male students and members of the rugby team, exchanged perspectives in relation to individual experiences connected with the concept of masculinity. Such examples as “Man up! You throw like a girl! Be a man and stop those tears!” were provided as evidence of the increased pressure on boys and young men in our societies, to hide their emotions, “grab a mask” and ultimately distort their true identity.

Initiated by UN Women in September 2014, HeForShe is a 1.5 million-member movement that invites “people around the world to stand together to create a bold, visible force for gender equality.”
If you have been watching television lately, you have probably seen the latest trend of bearded men or women both locally and internationally.  Many will argue that it enhances the facial features of an individual, but, could this be the reason you are going bald?

According to research done in 1988 by Cabanac, bearded men retained more heat in their beard hence they grew more bald. The results obtained supported the hypothesis that the male baldness is a thermoregulatory compensation for growth of beard in male adults. The research involved both bearded and unbearded men and women whereby the area of the glabrous skin on the forehead, calvaria and that of the skin of lips, cheeks and neck was measured. During light hyperthermia, the evaporation rate in the bald scalp was 2-3 times higher than the hairy scalp. In women and unbearded men, the evaporation rate was equal while for bearded men, it was 40% less on the chin. The research also shows that men with higher beard lines have most receding hairlines.

As there are several factors that may influence male and women pattern baldness such as age, genetics and level of testosterone, the beard may not be solely responsible for baldness, as research is still ongoing. Thus, those growing beards may need to take heed to avoid premature baldness.

Reviewed by Dr. Were L. Munyendo (Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutics)
Two weeks ago, we wrote about technical and soft skills and how those can be developed. As a follow-up to that article, we wish to further discuss core competencies that enable graduates to transition successfully into the workplace. In my opinion, these competencies are also key in enabling current employees to thrive.

USIU-Africa, through the Career Services Department, is a member of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) - a community focused on the employment of new college graduates. NACE classifies these type of competencies as Career Readiness , which it defines as the attainment and demonstration of requisite competencies that broadly prepare college graduates for a successful transition into the workplace

In accordance with its mission, NACE, through extensive research and a task force comprised of representatives from both the higher education and corporate sides, has developed a definition and identified competencies associated with career readiness for the new college graduate. (Details about the research are available here.)

If you’re a current student, check out the following competencies to gauge your career readiness and if you’re a current employee, ask a colleague, or even your supervisor, to rate you on each on a scale of 1-10, with one being the lowest and 10 the highest.

COMPETENCIES:

  1. Critical Thinking/Problem Solving: Exercise sound reasoning to analyze issues, make decisions, and overcome problems. The individual is able to obtain, interpret, and use knowledge, facts, and data in this process, and may demonstrate originality and inventiveness.
  2. Oral/Written Communications: Articulate thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in written and oral forms to persons inside and outside of the organization. The individual has public speaking skills; is able to express ideas to others; and can write/edit memos, letters, and complex technical reports clearly and effectively.
  3. Teamwork/Collaboration: Build collaborative relationships with colleagues and customers representing diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, religions, lifestyles, and viewpoints. The individual is able to work within a team structure, and can negotiate and manage conflict.
  4. Digital Technology: Leverage existing digital technologies ethically and efficiently to solve problems, complete tasks, and accomplish goals. The individual demonstrates effective adaptability to new and emerging technologies.
  5. Leadership: Leverage the strengths of others to achieve common goals, and use interpersonal skills to coach and develop others. The individual is able to assess and manage his/her emotions and those of others; use empathetic skills to guide and motivate; and organize, prioritize, and delegate work.
  6. Professionalism/Work Ethic: Demonstrate personal accountability and effective work habits, e.g., punctuality, working productively with others, and time workload management, and understand the impact of non-verbal communication on professional work image. The individual demonstrates integrity and ethical behavior, acts responsibly with the interests of the larger community in mind, and is able to learn from his/her mistakes.
  7. Career Management: Identify and articulate one’s skills, strengths, knowledge, and experiences relevant to the position desired and career goals, and identify areas necessary for professional growth. The individual is able to navigate and explore job options, understands and can take the steps necessary to pursue opportunities, and understands how to self-advocate for opportunities in the workplace.
  8. Global/Intercultural Fluency: Value, respect, and learn from diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and religions. The individual demonstrates openness, inclusiveness, sensitivity, and the ability to interact respectfully with all people and understand individuals’ differences.
These competencies are a great place to start in self-assessments as they give a clear definition and criteria of what to look out for in each.

If you have identified gaps in your career readiness or level of competency as a current employee, visit Career Services in the Freida Brown Student Center for an in-depth discussion on how to pursue growth in the specific areas. You can also email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for any feedback.

Election Peace Photoshoot 19102017 074

Kenyan students pose for a photo as part of a USIU-Africa campaign to encourage Kenyans to maintain peace before and after the repeat presidential election slated for Thursday, October 26. From left: Almasi Mae, Akaash Barot, Simon Mwandoe, Janes Amondi, Meet Pancholi, Yvette Achieng, Ryan Otsimi and Renee Wangwe Photo: Dan Muchai

The university will remain closed on Friday, October 20 to commemorate the Kenyan national holiday – Mashujaa Day. This was announced by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza, in an email message to the entire university community, in which he also indicated that the university will close from Tuesday, October 24 to Sunday, October 29. This, he stateD, will afford an opportunity to Kenyan members of the university community, to participate in the repeat Kenyan Presidential Election slated for Thursday, October 26. Similarly, classes that were scheduled from Friday October 20 to Saturday, October 28, are cancelled.

In his message, Prof. Zeleza underlined the values of “peaceful coexistence as well as respect for the rights and property of others in speech and action” that all members of the university community share, adding his observation that these values were already practiced in our learning and working environment.

Since the repeat presidential election was ordered by the Supreme Court of Kenya on September 1, the country has experienced a rapidly deteriorating political environment that has led to calls for boycott and a withdrawal from the elections by the incumbent President’s main rival, Mr. Raila Odinga. Mr. Odinga, a former Prime Minister of Kenya, was the keynote speaker during the 37th Commencement Ceremony in August 2015.

Prof. Zeleza urged students, staff and faculty to “continue to be that shining light of goodwill and tolerance that Kenya needs so desperately at this time”. Drawing inspiration from his experience as a historian, the Vice Chancellor reminded the community of their responsibility to write “a heroic chapter of integrity, leadership and service”, which he noted was “our gift to the future”.

While the university is closed, essential services will still be provided to campus residents. Contacts details for the security team, which remains on standby, are available on our website.