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ASU Thunderbird celebrates new partnership with Kenya

the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University, in partnership with the Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA), hosted “Innovating, Accelerating and Scaling Silicon Savannah,” a convening of high-level representatives from the government of Kenya and ASU to define areas of mutual cooperation. 

President William Ruto of Kenya, ASU President Michael Crow, and Thunderbird Director General and Dean Sanjeev Khagram gathered to announce a new partnership and future collaborations at the ASU Barrett and O’Connor Washington Center in Washington, D.C. 

The event coincided with the 2022 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit hosted by President Joe Biden, which aimed to strengthen ties and collaboration between the U.S. and Africa. The Thunderbird event brought top leaders from the government of Kenya, subject matter experts from ASU, representatives from the Africa Development Solutions Group, Smart Africa, United Nations Development Programme Africa and several high-level U.S. government officials together to discuss collaboration between ASU and the government of Kenya on the following topics:

• Space leadership.

• Creative Industries, including the metaverse, film, augmented reality and virtual reality.

• Climate innovations and carbon removal.

• Smart cities and urban innovation.

• Educational and entrepreneurship innovation.

“This is precisely the reason that ASU has a presence in Washington, D.C. — to bring together the resources of the nation’s most innovative university to work with leaders from around the world to advance solutions to issues that are vital to our future,” Crow said.

The event focused on Ruto’s ambitious agenda to catalyze a transformative Silicon Savannah in Kenya by harnessing the technologies and capabilities of the Fifth Wave of Innovation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

“President Ruto has set ambitious goals with Konza Technopolis, and ASU is uniquely positioned to help make it a reality,” Crow said. “With world-renowned experts and initiatives in space, film, carbon removal, smart cities and entrepreneurship innovation, we stand ready to help the people of Kenya and the broader African community succeed and thrive.” 

Now, with the support and leadership of Ruto, Thunderbird at ASU will continue to expand the Francis and Dionne Najafi 100 Million Learners Global Initiative by adding courses in additional African languages, thereby offering an online global, world-class education to a larger audience across the globe. 

The program also included remarks from Samba Bathily, founder of Africa Development Solutions, who recently announced a commitment to support 25 million learners in Africa through the 100 Million Learners Global Initiative. 

“As a refugee of Idi Amin’s Uganda, my life was transformed by having access to a world-class education. Samba’s generous support for our 100 Million Learners Global Initiative will help continue inclusive, innovative and impactful education at a worldwide scale,” Khagram said. “With deep gratitude, we thank Samba for this very impactful commitment.”

The Francis and Dionne Najafi 100 Million Learners Global Initiative offers online, global education in entrepreneurship and innovation from a world-class accredited institution in 40 different languages across the globe, at absolutely no cost to the learners thanks to the underlying philanthropic gift. 



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