THE SEVENTH STUDENT LED CONFERENCE

Led-conference twoContrary to the previously held student led conference that took place in one day, the seventh was a two-day event that took place on the 17th and 18th October 2019. A large representation of members from various social diversities, the education and NGO sectors were in attendance. Majority of the participants were students from learning institutions across Nairobi region. Most of them were from HIPSIR, Hekima University College, Kenyatta University, Tangaza University College, the United States International University, and University of Nairobi just to mention but a few.
Professor Macharia Munene was invited as the guest speaker. He has been very vocal on issues affecting the African continent that has been reeling from the effects of scrambling for its resources. He has also been expressing concerns on how the continent has been struggling to deal with social-political influence from external influence. He is also a lecturer of History and International relations at the United States International University (USIU). In this case, Professor Munene weighed in the discussion by addressing issues around "The Scramble for Africa in Contemporary World: Challenges and Opportunities."
Being a two-day event it took two turns; events of day one were coordinated by HIPSIR while Arigatou International geared day two events. Arigatou International is a non-governmental organization that collaborated with HIPSIR to identify the relevant topics from those that were proposed. The topics that were discussed included:

  1. The Africa continental free trade area: An answer to Africa's trade and development issues?
  2. Migration, human trafficking and modern slavery; A new African reality
  3. The impact of foreign aid/development loans on Africa's development
  4. Representation of Africa in the media today
  5. Xenophobia and Ultra-nationalism: An emerging Trend in Africa
  6. The role extraction industry plays in the modern economy in Africa

Participants got a chance to engage in vigorous discussions through panels discourses that included the following. Panel one tackled three main issues: (1) The superpowers and the scramble for Africa: Then and now, The Impact for foreign aid on Africa's; (2) Development, The failure of foreign aid in Africa: The case of Kenya; and (3) Slavery in the 21st C: A crime against human nature. Panel two discussed three issues as well that included: (1) Need, Greed and Creed: Corporate social responsibility in the Sudan's oil sector; (2) Diplomacy or deception: The conundrum of Beijing's oil diplomacy in South Sudan; and (3) Youth Economic Migration Media presentation of Africa: "Deconstruction and Rethinking of Myths and Stereotypes in Derridean Terms." The issues that panel three explored included (1) The Implication of China High Tech Mining on Socio-Economic status of artisanal and small-scale miners in Kenya; and (2) The Future of Extraction Industry on Pastoral Economy Xenophobia and ultra-nationalism: "An emerging Trend in Africa", the role of media in Peacebuilding.

The importance of what was conferred upon was laid keenly on through effective question and answer sessions. On day two, the discussions that were held earlier, through judges, panel and idea lab presentations were handled to bring up the best ideas as per the theme of the conference. There were vast ideas that the participants aired. For instance, one group looked at how violent extremism and radicalization festers within institutions of higher learning and various solutions to curb the problem. In addition, an idea with an initiative to curb terrorism was also presented to the judges. Furthermore, another group presented an idea of bringing consensus within institutions of higher learning about radicalization and violent extremism. HIPSIR students' idea was based on how mining is viewed at the traditional institutions of some communities. The institutions that were represented in the conference presented at least five ideas to the judges where two were selected as the winners. The winning ideas were from HIPSIR and Kenyatta University students.

Conventionally, through sharing of these ideas, the conference opened up a completely new scope of how Africa is on the verge of facing tremendous shifts of different political, economic, and socio-political impact to its subjects and its leaders.

By: CRTP Team