Collaborative symposium welcomes ASU partnership with Kenyatta University

May 13, 2019

Less than a year after the groundwork was first laid for a collaboration between Arizona State University and Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya, a delegation of professors and faculty leaders from Kenyatta visited Arizona for a symposium inaugurating the partnership.

Kenyatta is the second-ranked university in Kenya and has more than 70,000 students. Beatrice A. Bunyasi of Kenyatta University speaks during a symposium at ASU in April. She has orange hair and is wearing a button-up shirt. She stands at a podium with a laptop sitting on it. Chairwoman Beatrice A. Bunyasi of the Department of Early Childhood and Special Needs at Kenyatta University speaks during a symposium at ASU in April. Bunyasi presented on research and training regarding special needs education. Photo by Kimberly Koerth Download Full Image

In May of last year, School of International Letters and Cultures Director Nina Berman, School of Social Transformation Associate Director Beth Blue Swadener and College of Health Solutions lecturer Paul Quinn traveled to Kenya to explore possible partnerships with other universities. These partnerships could yield study abroad opportunities, research collaborations and exchanges of faculty and students.

A collaboration agreement between ASU and Kenyatta was signed in July by ASU Executive Vice President and University Provost Mark Searle and Kenyatta Vice Chancellor Paul Wainaina. The first step of the collaboration was a weeklong visit from April 13–19, 2019 that brought several Kenyatta University representatives to the ASU campus.

The five Kenyatta University representatives were Chairwoman Beatrice A. Bunyasi of the Department of Early Childhood and Special Needs, Samson Ikinya Kariuki of the School of Education, Dean Harun M. Kimani of the School of Health Sciences, Dean Donald K. Kombo of the School of Education and Dean Francis W. Ngokonyo of the School of Engineering and Technology.

In the days leading up to the symposium, the Kenyatta representatives were treated to tours of several ASU campuses and meetings with ASU officials. They learned about the concept of the New American University; discussed ventures such as study abroad, the Global Futures Initiative and EdPlus; and met with a large number of potential collaborators in their various disciplines.

The visit culminated in a one-day symposium that was well attended. The visitors discussed topics ranging from vocational education to digital network coverage to lab testing at health clinics.

Bunyasi, for example, presented on research and training regarding special needs education, noting that Kenya has a policy of mainstreaming disability, or including students in classes with their peers whenever possible and providing them with the services they need to learn. She also addressed the differences between ASU and Kenyatta’s disability services and campus accessibility.

“We have Arizona here as our international linkage,” she said. “If we can make an impact, it will be long lasting.”

The symposium was organized by Berman and Swadener — who had previously done research and worked in Kenya — along with Cassandra Cotton, a postdoctoral scholar with the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics. It was co-sponsored by nearly a dozen ASU colleges and schools.

“I am very excited about all the connections made during the Kenyatta University leaders’ visit and the potential for involving colleagues and students in several programs in the coming years,” Swadener said.

Kimberly Koerth

Content Writer, School of International Letters and Cultures

ASU instructor opening speaker for conference in Ecuador

May 14, 2019

On April 25, Charles G. Ripley III, lecturer in Arizona State University's School of Politics and Global Studies, was the opening speaker for this year’s round of academic presentations at La Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) in Quito, Ecuador.

FLACSO is Latin America’s most prestigious master's degree and doctoral granting institution in the social sciences. In addition to the opening talk, Ripley sat on the panel "IMF: A Project of Prosperity or Market Authoritarianism (FMI: Proyecto de prosperidad o autoritarismo de mercado)." Dr. Charles G. Ripley at FLACSO Charles Ripley (in blue) with graduate students from the FLACSO conference. Download Full Image

Ripley noted that it was an honor to be able to reach out to students far beyond the English-speaking world.

“Presenting research in Spanish was an extremely exciting and insightful experience,” Ripley said. “It allowed me to advance my academic language skills and connect with students and professors who, not being from the United States, offered very different and insightful perspectives to world politics.”

The presentations were based on two research projects. The first focused on the Trump administration’s use of socialist discourse in foreign policy to legitimize allies and delegitimize nonallies. The second stressed the negative role the International Monetary Fund and World Bank plays in Latin American policy making. Ripley shared that representing ASU internationally is an honor that he does not take lightly.

“Reaching out to academics throughout Latin America increases the recognition of ASU abroad and demonstrates that we are an inclusive and international university,” Ripley said. “It also exposes Latin American scholars and policy makers to our different programs and fields of study in case they have an interest in coming to the United States.”

Ripley’s research focuses on U.S. foreign policy, international political economy, security studies and Latin American politics. His fieldwork often takes him to Central and South America.

Ripley will also be attending a conference at la Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, and la Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia.

“These will be exciting experiences to coordinate with different scholars and students from all over the continent,” Ripley said. “I will also be working on journal articles and book projects in Latin America.”

Matt Oxford

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Politics and Global Studies