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Students urged to overcome Inequality and Prosper

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University of Nairobi Students have been urged by Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation to overcome the challenges posed by inequalities in their lives and prosper. Ford Foundation is an international social justice philanthropy with a $13 billion endowment and $600 million in annual grant making.

Darren Walker was giving a public lecture in Taifa Hall, University of Nairobi, on January 10,2019, where he addressed a number of issues, key among them inequality, education, entrepreneurship, philanthropy.  Giving his own life example, Darren observed that he had to overcome several challenges to be where he is today. “My journey is a journey of hope. I lived in a community that believed in me. I never knew my father. I was brought up by a single mother”, he said. Educated exclusively in public schools, Darren was a member of the first class of head start in 1965 and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, which in 2009 recognized him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award—its highest alumni honor.

The President of Ford Foundation announced support of USD 400,000 grant to help in the modernization of Taifa Hall. He congratulated the University of Nairobi for having one of the most modern conference halls around the world. “Every year, I travel over 100,000 miles and I can assure you that this is one of the best conference halls I have been to”, he observed. Mr. Darren described Kenya as a ‘jewel’. Kenya has a young highly trained man power that needs to be empowered to help realize its great potential.  

On governance, Darren urged Kenyans to demand more of service delivery, representation and less corruption. Darren observed that as Ford Foundation, they are keen on supporting ideas, institutions and individuals. Among the prominent individuals that have been supported by Ford Foundation include the former Secretary General of the United Nations, the late Koffi Annan.

“Young people are the engine for change. Let us empower young people, educate young people and we shall eliminate inequality. You cannot have dignity without a job”, he said. Darren encouraged young people to be proactive in their entrepreneurial journey and to create business enterprises.

Present during the public lecture was the former Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Raila Amollo Odinga, who challenged the University of Nairobi to embrace online education so that many people could have access to education. He took a swipe at the Judiciary for being an impediment in prosecuting corruption cases.

The public lecture was attended by among others, Chair of University Council, Dr. Julia Ojiambo,  the Chancellor, Dr. Vijoo Rattansi, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Peter Mbithi. Also present were members of parliament, the University Executive Board, members of the Senate, University staff, students, partners and the members of the public.

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