Group of people standing on stage with President Ruto

UGA students meet with Kenyan President Dr. Ruto

USAID invited UGA African Graduate Student Forum members to witness a new STEM education partnership with Kenya

On May 21, USAID invited members of the University of Georgia African Graduate Student Forum (AGSF) to Spelman College in Atlanta to meet with President William Ruto of Kenya. The students witnessed USAID sign a $32 million investment in Kenya’s education system. The Kenyan government also received $3.3 million from the U.S. Department of State to support the development and success of the next generation of Kenyan scientists, researchers, and engineers. 

The theme of the event, “Investing in a Shared Future via Higher Education,” resonated with AGSF’s mission to promote educational and cultural exchanges. It was a historic moment as African students witnessed the promotion of STEM partnerships between Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the Open University of Kenya, Mastercard, and Microsoft.

Pictured: Members of UGA AGSF after the signing.
(Photo courtesy of UGA AGSF)

Nancy Alila, who is pursuing her Ph.D. in quantitative methodology, serves as president of AGSF. Through her role, she commits to bringing people together to share valuable moments, striving to create a network of all international graduate students from African origin or heritage within the UGA community by fostering social, cultural, and educational engagements. 

“Listening to the President engage with my questions and even mention my name on such a global platform was incredibly fulfilling,” Alila said. “As a young leader, I am inspired by the opportunity to interact with great leaders and share the same space with them.” 

Alila was moved by President William Ruto’s humility and said she wants to lead AGSF students in the same way. 

black and white photo of President Ruto speaking.
(Photo courtesy of William Samoei Ruto)

“On his level, inviting us to such a forum shows that he recognizes our importance in society,” she said. “How the students felt after we left there, even those who were not Kenyans, the exposure was a good experience out of the humility of the President.”

Alila and her fellow AGSF members are excited about the future of these collaborations and the positive impact they can have on the African academic community and beyond. 

“I’m so grateful for being at UGA because you can see its impact,” Alila  said. “There are many schools around but them deciding to choose a student leader from the University of Georgia shows they know we are getting quality education and being molded for good leadership.” 

Nancy Alila and member of AGSF standing in front of national flags.
Pictured: Nancy Alila (right) with AGSF member (left).
(Photo courtesy of UGA AGSF)

By Sarah Park, Digital Marketing Assistant in the Division of Student Affairs