Kenya’s ambassador to United Nations will deliver lecture at Worcester State

April 6, 2023
By: Deborah Alvarez O'Neil

Worcester State University will welcome Kenya’s Ambassador to the United Nations Dr. Martin Kimani on Thursday, April 13, for a guest lecture on the role of the Global South in international politics, Kenyan-US cultural ties, and belonging to the international community. 

The event begins at 2 p.m. in the May Street Building and is open to the public.

Dr. Kimani has deep experience as a global leader and diplomat. Prior to becoming Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, he served as the Kenyan president’s special envoy for countering violent extremism and director of Kenya’s National Counter Terrorism Centre. He currently is the president of the executive boards of the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Office for Project Services and the United Nations Development Programme. He earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of New Hampshire and a PhD in war studies from King’s College London, University of London.

On the eve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Dr. Kimani delivered a powerful speech at the UN Security Council condemning Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and comparing it to the history of colonialism in Africa. Kenya was under British rule for 70 years until it won independence in 1963.

“This situation echoes our history,” he said in a speech that went viral. “Kenya and almost every African country was birthed by the ending of empire. Our borders were not of our own drawing. They were drawn in the distant colonial metropoles of London, Paris, and Lisbon, with no regard for the ancient nations that they cleaved. Today, across the border of every single African country live our countrymen with whom we share deep historical, cultural, and linguistic bonds.”

Dr. Kimani’s visit was organized by the student-led Intercultural Student Alliance (ISA) with support from Assistant Professor Catriona Standfield in the Department of History and Political Science. Dr. Standfield will lead a Q&A with the ambassador following the lecture.

ISA President Brandol M. Ogando Saladin, a political science major who wants to pursue a career in diplomacy, said Dr. Kimani’s lecture at Worcester State will address several themes that are important to the mission of ISA.

“For me, this event means a lot,” Ogando Saladin said. “ISA focuses on representing different cultures. The theme of the organization is a sense of belonging. We really wanted this lecture to be about belonging in the international community. Also, we have Europe and the US leading international politics, but Ambassador Kimani will put the Global South in the spotlight.” 


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