Faculty Achievement

White House Honors Champion of Change

Wanjiru 150

Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, assistant professor of politics, has been honored by the White House as one of its Champions of Change—part of President Barack Obama’s Winning the Future initiative.

The Kenyan native was honored this year as one of 14 Champions of Change who are leaders in American diaspora communities with roots in the Horn of Africa.

“These men and women are American leaders we want to celebrate,” said Denis McDonough, deputy national security adviser. “We commend the innovative practices, achievements, and leadership these change-makers bring not only to their communities around this country—but also to the development of and diplomacy with their countries of origin.”

Kamau-Rutenberg is the founder and executive director of the international nonprofit Akili Dada, a leadership incubator that pairs prominent female Kenyan business people, politicians, educators, and activists with underprivileged high school girls as mentors and provides the girls with scholarships to stay in school.

Previously honored by the United Nations for her work with Akili Dada, and the recipient of the Foundations for Change Thomas I. Yamashita Prize and the African International Achievers Award, Kamau-Rutenberg was selected as a Champion of Change because of her passion for promoting a synergy between rigorous academic analysis and social entrepreneurship, the White House said.

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