kenyan diaspora conf

International Conference on

"The Role of the Kenyan Diaspora in Kenya's Development"

Kennesaw State University, March 22-24, 2007



Keynote Speakers
Professor Eric Masinde Aseka
Professor Paul Tiyambe Zeleza
Plenary Speakers
Dr. Macharia Waruingi
Dr. Olubayi Olubayi


About Professor Eric Masinde Aseka

Professor Aseka is a Fulbright Scholar-In Residence at Kennesaw State University in the 2006/2007 academic year. He is a renowned political historian with a profound interest in leadership studies. He believes that turning around Africa requires institutionalizing quality and effective leadership on the continent. He is one of the longest serving members of Kenyatta University where he has taught since 1985 rising through the ranks up to the present position he holds of Full Professor. He became a senior lecturer in 1993 and served as Chairman of the Department of History (1993-1997). He rose to the position of associate professor in 1997 and was elected as Dean of School of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2001. He was appointed full professor in 2002 while serving as Dean. He also served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) from 1998-2002. He chaired this Executive Committee’s Sub-Committee on Programs throughout the duration of its tenure. He has also served as external examiner for five universities in Kenya including University of Nairobi, Moi University and Maseno University, and also Makerere University in Uganda and University of Cape Town in South Africa.

Dr.Aseka received his undergraduate degree at the University of Nairobi (B. Ed) in 1980, his MA (in History) at the University of Nairobi in 1985, and his PhD (in History) at Kenyatta University in 1992. He wrote his dissertation on “The Political Economy of Buluyia”. He specializes in African political history and history of political and economic theory. He has written Jomo Kenyatta: A Political Biography (1992), Africa in the Twenty-First Century (1996), and Transformational Leadership in East Africa: Politics, Ideology and Community (2005) among other books, articles in edited works and journals. He has completed a manuscript entitled; Croaking Voices in African History. Aseka was born on July 2nd 1956 at Ekambuli Village in Butere District of Western Province in Kenya.



About Professor Paul Tiyambe Zeleza

Professor Paul Tiyambe Zeleza is Professor and Chair of Department of African American Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Before his recent move to UIC, Professor Zeleza was at Penn State University, where he received the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts Class of 1933 Distinction of the Humanities Award. Zeleza’s work not only challenge the traditional Euroamerican framework, but he is among the scholars who are redefining a framework that is strongly Africa-centered.

Dr. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, Professor of African Studies and History, received his undergraduate degree at the University of Malawi (BA), his MA at the University of London, and his PhD at Dalhousie University. He wrote his dissertation on Kenyan Economics and Labor History. His prime areas of study are African economics history, gender history, intellectual history, contemporary struggles for human rights and democratization, and cultural social history 19th and 20th centuries.

Paul Zeleza has an unusual record of achievement in two areas: historical research and creative writing. Trained as an economic and social historian of colonial and post-colonial Africa, his Modern Economic History of Africa is a landmark study, and he has published prolifically on various topics relating to decolonization, gender, and intellectual life in Africa.

Over the last generation, African history has literally been rewritten by Africans, and Professor Zeleza has been an important part of that process. He is deeply committed to reaching out to African institutions, which are in need of help in assembling collections and other types of publications. Professor Zeleza's work and reputation are international in scope, and he has recently been offered a seasonal visiting Distinguished Professorship at the University of Cape Town. There is another dimension to Professor Zeleza's accomplishments. He has published several volumes of short stories, a novel, and literary criticism. His life as a creative writer makes him a more influential cultural figure than the typical historian. He possesses a wonderful capacity for global collaboration, and the level of initiative he consistently displays is truly unusual.

He is the author of about twenty books, scores of articles, essays, and reviews published in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and North America. His current book projects include Africa and Its Diasporas: Dispersals and Linkages that offers a global history of the dispersal of African peoples and the formation of African diasporas in the Americas, Europe, and Asia and their linkages with Africa, and Transnational and Transdisciplinary Studies: The Challenge of Africa, an edited collection that examines the development of Africanist knowledge production in all the major world regions, the major social science and humanities disciplines and interdisciplinary fields. He has been extensively involved in promoting African studies nationally and internationally and has worked with school teachers, business organizations, scholarly networks, and international organizations, and the media and frequently travels around the world to give lectures and attend conferences on African issues.

Dr. Zeleza was a professor in History and African Studies and Director of the Center for African Studies at the University of Illinois (1995-2003), Professor of History and Principal of Eaton College at Trent University in Ontario, Canada (1990-95), and before that he taught at Kenyatta University (1984-89), University of the West Indies (1982-84), and the University of Malawi (1976-77).

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About Dr. Olubayi Olubayi

Dr. Olubayi Olubayi is an associate professor of microbiology and the chair of the biotechnology program at Middlesex County College in Edison, New Jersey. He is also a lecturer in Africana Studies at Rutgers University where he teaches the senior seminar on wealth, and a class on the contributions of Africans to science.

Dr. Olubayi earned his Ph.D. in plant biology from Rutgers University in 1995. His research focus was on the biology of bacteria-plant-cell interactions. He holds a United States research patent on the flocculation of bacteria, and he has published on bacterial physiology, the biology of plants, and the place of science in Africana studies.

He is the co-founder and president of the Global Literacy Project, Inc., a nonprofit organization that has already shipped more than one million books and hundreds of computers to economically disadvantaged countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia. In October of 2004, the Global Literacy Project co-sponsored the “Walk for Literacy” in conjunction with G.O.Y.A (Student Volunteerism at Rutgers) as part of Make-A-Difference Day. About 100 Rutgers students, New Brunswick residents and supporters from across the tri-state area came together on the Cook/Douglass Campus to raise awareness for international literacy efforts.

Dr. Olubayi is the founder and chair of the advisory board of the Pan-African Mentoring and Learning Organization (PAMLO) whose mission is to promote literacy and self-reliance on the continent of Africa. He is the adviser to the Youth Organization of Amagoro district in Kenya, and the founder of the Chamasiri Harambee Self-Reliance Project in Kenya.

Dr. Olubayi is the founder and CEO of Global Literacy PRESS, a new book publishing company based in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The company has just published a book entitled Wealth, Not Income: Student Discussions on Money and Freedom. Six students were chosen to publish on the topic of creating African-American generational wealth and how to build strong communities. The book will be used within the Africana studies department as required reading.

Dr. Olubayi is currently writing a book on protein purification and another on the responsibilities of educated Africans in rebuilding Africa. He and several colleagues are developing a plan to launch a micro-lending project in rural western Kenya and are designing a Pan-African Leadership Academy to train the next generation of African leaders to create solutions to the Continent’s problems.

Dr. Olubayi is strongly committed to the struggle to build a world culture in which all human beings are sisters and brothers, and in which individuals are judged not by race, or color, or creed, but as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “by the content of their character



dr. waruingi


About Dr. Macharia Waruingi

Dr. Macharia Waruingi was born and raised in the slopes of Mt. Kenya. He received his primary education at Witima Catholic Church Mission Primary School, Othaya, Nyeri Central Kenya. He spent most of his young life in central Kenya, picking coffee, going to school, and growing up. He received his medical education and bachelors of Medicine, and Bachelors of Surgery at the University of Nairobi School of Clinical Sciences. He completed his internship in Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), Nairobi, Kenya. Post internship, he worked in the Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi, as Intersivist, and the Nairobi Heart Clinic, based in Nairobi Hospital as a Medical Officer. Subsequently, he completed his medical residency in France, at the University of Limoges Regional Teaching Hospital. He specialized in neurology, tropical neurology and neurophysiology. Then he moved to Boston, US, where he has worked at the Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston (in neurophysiology), and later on to the Brigham and Women's Hospital.

About his experience and his approach to development, Dr. Waruingi has this to say: "Growing up in the slopes of Mt. Kenya, working at KNH, and the Aga Khan, and the Nairobi Hospital, as a young physician left me perplexed by the state of health care delivery in our nation, and  the immense susceptibility of individuals in Kenya, and Kenyan population to death by easily preventable diseases. This question bothered me for many years, and I knew there is something about the way we deliver healthcare, and the philosophy of healthcare delivery in our nation, and other countries like ours, that was not working. For example, we generated kilotons of knowledge on malaria, and tuberculosis, through our research labs, at KHN, and the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), yet malaria remains the leading cause of death in the country. Even the best scientists in the world have not solved this conundrum, which made me think that the science that guides healthcare development in Kenya, and perhaps other developing countries was inadequate for ensuring human survival. This quest led me to seek knowledge about mechanisms of evoking development that can ensure human survival in a country. Immediately two things occurred: (a) the need to find a platform for exploring insights in to knowledge creation in health and human development (and enrolled in doctoral studies in health administration); and (c) and the need to build a platform for enabling knowledge creation about health and human development (the Kenya Development Network)."

Immediately the Kenya Development Network discovered knowledge creation is necessarily an inclusive process, which must include both the fringe, and the traditional stakeholders of health and human development, to think together, to share their explicit and tacit knowledge, and to learn from one another. This necessitated the creation of the collaborative learning teams, which must be comprised of a mix of  members of the international development community, the business community, the Kenyan government, the local nationals and the diaspora nationals of Kenya. Because of these learning teams, the development network changed its name to add the term consortium, to indicate the nature of multiple teams of organizations associating together to enable knowledge creation about health and human development in Kenya

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