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4th year BBIT Student wins Strathmore Cultural Festival essay competition

Stephen Mokoro

Stephen Mokoro, a 4th year Bachelor of Business Information Technology (BBIT) student won this year’s Strathmore Cultural Festival essay competition, which was sponsored by the Cultural Council of Iran.

The competition, themed, Extremists Movement; nature, goals, threats and preventive measures against their influence in society, was sponsored by the Cultural Council of Iran.  In his essay, Stephen addressed among other issues the goals of extremist groups’ particularly religious extremists, triggers of extremism, extremist recruitment efforts and preventive measures. Taking an opinionative approach, Stephen based his essay on an analysis of the latest extremist related concerns in the country. “Anyone can be an extremist irrespective of religious affiliation if triggered… unjustified labeling of youth from particular religions as extremists, targeted and unexplained kidnappings and extrajudicial killings of suspected extremists without charges appeared to be the strongest motivation of religious extremism…in order to thwart extremist movements, stakeholders must first address the most pressing concerns of groups most vulnerable to extremist recruitment efforts,” said Stephen. Stephen was awarded by the Cultural Council of Iran during the Strathmore Cultural Festival final ceremony.

Have you won any writing competition before?

Yes. I have won two international writing competitions before. In my first year of study, I participated in the African Leadership Academy’s International Youth Day essay competition on leveraging on Africa’s youth potential for development and prosperity. My essay made it to the best 10 essays and I was awarded a certificate of merit. In 2015, I made it to the best 100 most promising university student leaders globally and won a chance to participate in the 11th edition of the prestigious South American Business Forum (SABF) Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina after winning the competitive SABF essay competition and selection process. However, I have also lost a number of writing competitions which I take positively as a challenge.

Who inspired your writing?

Mr. Stephen Macharia–a Communication Skills lecturer and the Director of the Strathmore Writing Center. I never knew that I would ever make a good writer until Mr. Macharia challenged me to participate in the African Leadership Academy’s 2013 International essay competition. I took up the challenge under his supervision and to my surprise, won. It was my first ever essay writing competition and winning such a competition of a global scale is what inspired me to believe in my creativity and literary ability. Besides my personal efforts to improve my writing and communication skills, I have also received a lot of support from the Writing Center through training, essay reviews and general guidance on how to master the art of effective communication.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Read a lot, write a lot and most importantly, work closely with the Writing Center. One of the most important departments in Strathmore that most students ignore is the Writing Center. I often review some of my friends’ project proposals and resumes and what I have seen is discouraging. A number of students don’t know how to write impressive cover letters and resumes;  how to logically organize their ideas and put them down in writing and  how to do proper referencing and page numbering among others. The University Writing Center comes in handy in helping students to fine-tune their skills in such areas.

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