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Spelman College Welcomes President of Kenya During State Visit, Signs Collaborative STEM Agreement Share a Spelman College Press Release


On May 21, 2024, Spelman College welcomed President of the Republic of Kenya Dr. William Samoei Ruto during his first state visit to the United States. During the visit, Spelman, the Kenyan government and other Historically Black College and University leaders signed an agreement to support new partnerships between universities and industry to drive innovation, research and job growth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related fields in Kenya and globally.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) also announced significant investment in Kenya’s education system, including $850,000 in support of the Edtech Africa initiative, a public-private partnership program recommended by the President’s Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement (PAC-ADE). The EdTech initiative aims to enhance student and faculty exchange, collaborative research and innovation, and capabilities for a digital future. The collaborative Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by leaders from Spelman, Microsoft, Mastercard’s Center for Inclusive Growth, Howard University, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and the USAID.

After the MOU signing, President Ruto and Spelman President Helene Gayle engaged in a stimulating Fireside Chat where they discussed the vision for EdTech Africa and the ways in which businesses can be incentivized to invest in partnerships for higher education.

“Nearly 75 percent of our graduates have the opportunity to study abroad, and we think it is so important in this world that we make sure our students think of themselves as global citizens,” said Dr. Gayle. “Spelman has already had strong ties and engagement in several African countries. And that’s why we are so happy to be deepening this relationship with Kenya.”

“By following in the footsteps of the historic airlift, we shall empower a new generation of disruptive thinkers, ambitious visionaries, and innovative problem solvers,” said President Ruto. “And thus divine a brighter knowledge-driven future where progress transcends borders, transforms lives and delivers prosperity.”

The event also included a roundtable discussion with educational and industry STEM leaders that emphasized the value of partnerships between universities and the private sector to catalyze growth and innovation in STEM. Panelists included leaders from Micron Technology, Atlanta University Center Consortium Data Science Initiative, University of Kenya, Directorate for STEM Education and Clark Atlanta University.


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