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President Obama honors 2 Kenyan Women as Champions of Change

Discussion in 'Kenyan News and Politics' started by Ab-Titchaz, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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    Obama fetes Kenyan champions of change


    Dr Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg.

    By ASHLEY LIME alime@ke.nationmedia.com
    Posted Tuesday, January 31 2012 at 22:30

    Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.

    These words by former UK statesman Winston Churchill echo the achievements of two Kenyan women who dared to dream and emerged as leaders in their fields thousands of miles away from home.

    The researchers were on Monday honoured by US President Barrack Obama as Champions of Change for their leadership roles in American diaspora communities with roots from the Horn of Africa.

    Dr Christine Martey-Ochola and Dr Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg were recognised for their work in mentoring and inspiring young people to be courageous enough to dream of a better future.

    Community activism has been part of Dr Martey-Ochola’s life from the time she was a little girl.

    For many years, she watched as family members, from her great grandmother to her mother, dedicated their lives to serving the community.

    Her great grandmother practiced naturopathic medicine and community development, her grandmother was a teacher and an entrepreneur while her mother was a medical doctor.

    In addition, she says, her father taught her the art of patience and negotiation while many of her relatives gave back to the community in different ways.

    And all these played a key role in shaping Dr Martey-Ochola to become one of the most influential women entrepreneurs in the diaspora.

    In a live web-broadcast held at the White House on Monday, the two were among the 14 individuals feted as part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative.

    The initiative highlights different sectors and groups of champions each week, ranging from entrepreneurs to community leaders.

    They are recognised for their input in strengthening their communities.

    “I must say that I have been completely engulfed by community activists all my life.

    “So I believe I continue to work in this arena because I inherited the genetic code that goes with community activism,” Dr Martey-Ochola told the Nation on Tuesday.

    She is the co-founder of the Sub-Saharan Africa Chamber of Commerce, an institution that facilitates trade and investment between the US and Africa.



    Dr. Christine Martey-Ochola

    Dr. Christine Martey-Ochola, a native of Kenya, is co-founder of the Sub-Saharan Africa Chamber of Commerce, an organization that facilitates trade and investment between the US and Africa. Under her direction the chamber has facilitated US business entry into multiple African countries, advised hundreds of companies on best practices in doing business in Africa, and presented at many international business forums on African trade and investment. She has had a successful academic career teaching Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, in addition to running research on cancer chemotherapeutic delivery, isolation of beneficial cancer chemotherapeutics from herbal infusions, and the impact of cigarette smoke toxicants on normal human lung cells. Dr. Martey-Ochola has been instrumental in increasing partnerships between US and African universities in addition to assisting college students secure internships with high growth companies in Africa. As a consultant with Datatel + SGHE, she helps higher education institutions around the world enhance the teaching and learning experience by helping them obtain the needed resources through State, Federal, and Private awards. Improving international economic conditions begins with education. Dr. Martey-Ochola advises women’s organizations in the US and Africa, HIV-AIDS intervention organizations, youth entrepreneurship groups and also supports establishment of computer labs in rural Kenyan schools.

    Dr. Christine Martey-Ochola | The White House

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    USA-Kenya Chamber of Commerce... About Us


    Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg

    Assistant Professor
    Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg is an assistant professor in the Politics department. She holds a Ph.D. and Masters degree in Political Science from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor's degree in Politics from Whitman College.

    Her varied research and teaching interests include the politics of gender, global philanthropy, international development, ethnic politics, transitions to democracy, and the role of communication technology in social action.

    One of her current research projects looks at challenges to meaningful philanthropy towards Africa while another project examines the impact of ethnic politics on the struggle for women's rights legislation in Africa with a particular emphasis on the Kenyan experience. She has published articles on women's movements in Africa as well as on the impact of U.S. anti-terror legislation on anti-terror legislation in Kenya.

    Her offerings include courses on the Politics of International Aid and Development, African Politics, Introduction to African Politics, and the Politics of Racial and Ethnic Identity. She also teachers for the Sarlo Scholars program offered through the McCarthy Center.

    Dr Kamau-Rutenberg is also the founder and executive director of Akili Dada, an international non-profit organization working to ensure that the next generation of Kenyan women leaders includes women from disadvantaged economic backgrounds. Akili Dada offers competitive and comprehensive scholarships to brilliant girls from impoverished Kenyan families while connecting them to a network of high level professional women who serve as mentors. As part of her work with Akili Dada she mentors USF students who undertake directly supervised internships with the organization.

    University of San Francisco (USF) - Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg