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Strathmore Launches 2021 UNESCO Chair and Enel Scholarships


In November 2021, Strathmore University and the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) signed a four-year renewable year agreement that culminated in the establishment of a UNESCO Chair on Climate Change Resilience and Sustainability. Subsequently, Prof. Izael Da Silva – DVC Research and Innovation – was appointed as the 2021 UNESCO Chair holder, culminating in the official launch on the 12th of April 2022. The Enel Foundation scholarship for Strathmore engineering students was also launched.

In attendance during the hybrid launch were: Ms. Elvira Goetz, Partnerships Advisor for Eastern and Southern Africa, UNESCO; Dr. Carlo Papa, Managing Director, ENEL Foundation; Prof. Emanuela, Colombo Professor Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy and UNESCO Chair Holder 2012; Dr. Vincent Ogutu – Vice Chancellor Designate – Strathmore University and Dr. Julius Butime Dean School of Computing and Engineering Sciences (SCES).

What is a UNESCO Chair? 

A UNESCO Chair is a project and a team at a university or a higher education or research institution that partners with UNESCO in order to advance knowledge and practice in an area that is a priority for both the institution and UNESCO. The partnership is formalized by means of an agreement signed between the Director-General of UNESCO and the head of the institution hosting the UNESCO Chair (Rector, President, Vice-Chancellor). A UNESCO Chair can be established as a new teaching and research unit at a university or other institutions of higher education and/or research for a period of four years.

Launched in 1992, the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs programme involves over 850 institutions in 117 countries in the promotion of international inter-university cooperation and networking to enhance institutional capacities through knowledge sharing and collaborative work. As of December 2021, there are over 877 UNESCO Chairs across the globe, about 26 countries in Africa with UNESCO Chairs and eight universities in Kenya bestowed upon responsibilities of being UNESCO Chairs.

Climate Change Resilience and sustainability

With the rapid rise of temperatures causing heat waves, heavy and destructive rains, rampant fires across the globe, drought that leads to food insecurity, glaciers that are melting at a rapid rate, the future is uncertain. The onus is on us to mitigate the projected risk of climate change.

It is through changing people’s minds that we will, together, tackle and address climate change.” This powerful statement by Ms. Elvira Goetz emphasized the need for collaboration so as to implement and facilitate research on Climate Change Resilience and Sustainability.

Bearing in mind that there is no time to delay, Prof. Izael’s will go a long way in the development of transformative research ideas and innovations that will enhance institutional capacities through knowledge sharing and collaborative work. Ultimately, this will inform the policy making sector in mitigating the risk of climate change.

Sponsoring environment-friendly engineers

Using education as a tool to deliver and achieve sustainable development, Strathmore University launched the Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Electronics Engineering (BSEEE), a degree designed to give students an insight into electronic design, electromagnetic fields, power systems, and telecommunications and control systems. The collaboration between Enel Foundation and Strathmore will further broaden the students’ skill set, allowing them to gain hands-on practical understanding of electrical and electronics systems whilst enjoying numerous opportunities locally and abroad.

The degree encompasses three Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 2, SDG 6 and SDG 7


Moreover, ENEL Foundation will offer six scholarships to students acting as a bridge to nurture and support brilliant students in need of financial aid. In the words of Prof. Izael, “In an environment of freedom and responsibility, Strathmore University and Enel Foundation are committed to nurturing engineers who are guardians of the environment and are dedicated to leaving behind a world better than the one they found.”


This article was written by Jemmy Kamau.



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