campus news & events

Fulbright Scholar Isaac Nyamongo Addresses Kenya's Obsession with Obama and his Journey to the American Presidency

NEW LONDON, N.H.– Dr. Isaac Nyamongo, a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at Colby-Sawyer College, will speak about Barack Obama's Kenyan roots and Kenyans' obsession with Obama's journey to the White House. Nyamongo is an associate professor and director of the Institute of Anthropology, Gender and African Studies at the University of Nairobi in Kenya.

Dr. Nyamongo will present “Barack Obama Sr. and Barack Obama Jr: Tracking the Making of an American President,” on Monday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. in Wheeler Hall at the Ware Campus Center. The event is free and open to the public.

In his public lecture, Dr. Nyamongo will focus on Obama's Kenyan roots and what his presidency might portend for Africa. Barack Obama Sr.'s arrival in America in 1959, at age 23 and on a scholarship to study at the University of Hawaii, is linked in part to the U.S. strategy to counter the influence of the then Soviet Union, according to Nyamongo.

“The Russians were seeking to gain a foothold in Kenya as Tanzania, under its first president, was already leaning towards socialism,” he explains. “In 1959, Obama Sr. was among the first wave of Kenyan students asked to come to the U.S. to receive higher education, in preparation for Kenya's independence.”

Obama Jr. was born of a short-lived marriage between Obama Sr. and an American woman, Ann Dunham. “Obama Jr. is a one man melting pot,” Nyamongo adds. “As the whole world watches with expectation, one can only hope that he will use his American, African and Asian links to make the world a better place.”

Nyamongo is a medical anthropologist with expertise in ethnology and research methods. He focuses his research on public health issues in Africa. As part of Colby-Sawyer's Environmental Studies Department in 2008-2009, he will teach and speak to classes, engage in campus events and activities, and address the larger New London area community on a range of topics.

The event is sponsored by the college's Cultural Events Committee.

-Kimberly Swick Slover

Colby-Sawyer, founded in 1837, is a comprehensive liberal arts college located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. Students learn in small classes through a select array of programs that integrate the liberal arts and sciences with pre-professional experience.

Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000