USIU-Africa and Columbia Global Centers in Nairobi host Public Lecture

Prof. Howard French (centre) delivers his public lecture on Africa in the 21st Century: Reflections on Emerging Challenges in Media and Foreign Policy Reporting in Africa and China. PHOTO: Courtesy

By Joanne Alividza and Philip Mwembi

USIU-Africa and Columbia Global Centers held a Public Lecture on ‘Africa in the 21st Century: Reflections on Emerging Challenges in Media and Foreign Policy Reporting in Africa and China’ on May 28, 2019. The lecture was a joint collaboration between the School of Communication Cinematic and Creative Arts (SCCCA) and School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) was delivered by Prof. Howard French of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and brought together over 400 participants from 11 institutions in higher education, technology sector and media fraternity.

In his address, Prof. French explored the Africa-China relations stating a key interest of China’s presence in Africa being economic gain owing to the rapid increase in Africa’s population therefore, an increase in the Sino-Africa trade. He shared China’s growth trajectory since independence stating that Africa needs exemplary and selfless leadership to realize economic growth of its citizens. “African leaders need to set a paradigm shift to harness the continent’s possibilities to drive growth of the continent”, he said.

USIU-Africa Chancellor Dr. Manu Chandaria who attended the event challenged African countries to take advantage of their relationship with China to advance their development agenda instead of whining that China was introducing neo-colonialism tendencies in the continent. Dr. Chandaria acknowledged that indeed China, the world’s most populous country had come a long way to become a global economic powerhouse through transformative leadership over the years.

“I would want to see African leaders talking positive lessons from China and move the continent to great strides as Africa has a lot of yet to be exploited potential. The world is advancing very fast and only innovative leadership with contemporary ideas should take charge of Africa”, he challenged. The engagement session of the Lecture brought forth a suggestion for the participants to pick lessons from China’s Africa strategy as a whole rather than concentrate on her interests in the continent from a negative perspective.

USIU-Africa continues to pursue and actualize university wide partnerships with institutions across board (from those of higher learning to government, industry and community based organizations) locally, regionally and globally. This collaboration works to further the USIU-Africa and Columbia University partnership given that CGC, which is part of Columbia University’s global network of centers, aims to create opportunities in research, scholarship and teaching around the world; and to expand Columbia's mission as a global University. The hosting of the Public Lecture also brings to the fore the long term existing relationship between USIU-Africa and Columbia University in that the latter forms part of targeted institutions for USIU-Africa’s Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) Global Tour Course. It also highlights different partnership talks with other sections of the University and hence calls for a formalized partnership.

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