ASA Invited to Yale African Innovation Symposium – Oberlin Review | So Good News
The Oberlin African Student Association was recently invited to participate in the Yale Africa Innovation Symposium on November 11-12. This two-day conference aims to debunk traditional views of issues affecting Africa and produce concrete solutions for various African sectors.
This is the first time that ACA has been invited to this symposium. The symposium is consistent with the ASA’s mission statement, which describes one of its goals as “improving education by providing a network for prospective African students abroad and in the United States.” It’s also the first time the Yale symposium has been held in person since the pandemic began.
“A student who knew another Yale student who organized the event told us about it because the student was trying to attract schools other than the usual Ivy Leagues,” said Nyakwea Ndegwa, a college sophomore and ASA treasurer. . “They told us about the conference and then contacted Yale, so we emailed them and found out what it was about.”
The ASA sent out a form to its members inviting them to attend and participate in the weekend conference. The conference was open to both international students from Africa and US-born students. After screening, five students were selected to participate. At the symposium, they had the opportunity to participate in various seminars and conferences on topics of interest to them, from economics to fashion.
“The Yale symposium is about innovation, especially in Africa,” said Omukoko Okot, a second-year college student who attended the symposium. “It seeks to encourage Africans, diasporas and people of African descent to return and invest in Africa.”
Participants came from colleges across the United States. One of the goals of the event was to unite the entire African diaspora, including anyone of African descent.
“I felt the need to make meaningful connections and learn how I can not only give back to my community, Africa, but also critically analyze and strategize the innovative channels I can use to make it happen,” said the college third. said Norman Mwangi in “The experience was great. It made me focus on things I never thought of. They influenced me to invest in Africa.”
Speakers who contributed to solving African problems in different ways were invited to the symposium. These speakers contributed to the common culture in different parts of Africa; for example, Mpheti Morojele shed light on architectural innovation. Morojele is the owner and founder of MMA Design Studios, involved in numerous architectural and urban projects in various African countries, including South Africa, Ethiopia and Burundi.
“It opened up a lot of opportunities that many people in Africa have not yet tapped into,” Okot said. “That’s part of the reason we’re having this symposium is to talk about how to connect people in the U.S. with people back home in Africa and invest.”
One of the main events of the event is the innovation labs, where experts come to present their research and studies, focused on a specific topic. For example, Wilmot Allen, a Nairobi-based entrepreneur and economist, presented a report entitled “Making the Dashiki Economy Work: Addressing Structural Pathways for the Shared Prosperity of Africa and its Diaspora.”
“The ultimate goal is for our experts to take solutions back to their businesses, organizations and communities and put them to work,” wrote Abigail Ndikum, founder and executive director of YAIS, in a letter to attendees. “Furthermore, we hope that the work in the labs will give all participants a foundation to turn their innovative ideas about African development into reality after the conference.”
Overall, students came together to network and strengthen their knowledge of African development. Through this process, symposium speakers and African students from Oberlin and other colleges learned about addressing African challenges and proposing solutions.
“It was a pleasure to participate and be invited to the Yale Conference Symposium,” said Ndegwa. “We are looking forward to participating in such events. It’s our first time and we had a great time.”