The President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has visited Kenya from 23rd to 26th of February. He was accompanied by a delegation of German parliamentarians, business representatives and guests from culture, sport and education.
The newly-elected president of DAAD, Prof. Joybrato Mukherjee, was part of the delegation, and, taking into account that he has been in office for not even two months, he proved that Africa matters to DAAD, the world’s biggest scholarship organisation.
The work of DAAD in East Africa was made visible in a poster exhibition at the Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) in Nairobi, a vocational training institution. 18 posters informed about programmes, projects and activities of DAAD. Prof. Mukherjee, the DAAD Nairobi team as well as Alumni and current DAAD scholarship holders took the opportunity to interact with government representatives from Germany and Kenya.
Caroline Kung’u and John-Bell Okoye, PhD scholarship holders at ICIPE and Daystar University respectively, were happy to share their experiences in the In-Country and In-Region scholarship programmes with president Steinmeier and president Kenyatta. Caroline was delighted to learn how much President Kenyatta, as he told her, appreciates the value of young PhD students in Kenya. John-Bell underlined the intercultural experience that he as a Nigerian student in Kenya benefits from.
Both presidents pointed out in their speeches at KIST the significance of education and job creation for Kenya’s young generation. Steinmeier confirmed to support Kenya in its vocational training efforts and in the creation of an education system similar to Germany’s Universities of Applied Sciences. “German universities can help Kenya in the creation of a University of Applied Sciences”, he said during a joint press conference in Nairobi.
Prof. Mukherjee was impressed by the size of the DAAD Alumni network and how many Alumni hold leadership positions at universities, corporates and in politics. During the state dinner, Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto expressively thanked DAAD for funding his Master’s degree in Germany in 1990.
Not only Alumni, but also students and lecturers engaged Prof. Mukherjee at Kenyatta University after his lecture on “What’s next? The Future of African-German Cooperation in Higher Education.” A visit at ILRI, a research institute DAAD has been cooperating with, a meeting and lunch with DAAD staff at the Regional Office and finally a dinner with university vice-chancellors and representatives of partner organisations complemented the stay of the DAAD president in Nairobi.