Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg (third from left), USF assistant professor of politics, is honored at the White House as a Champion of Change.
University of San Francisco’s 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.
A native of Kenya, Kamau-Rutenberg was honored on Jan.
30 (video) 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 advisor. “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.”
is the founder and executive director of the international nonprofit Akili
Dada, a leadership incubator that pairs prominent female Kenyan businesswomen,
politicians, educators, and activists with underprivileged high school women as
mentors and provides the high school women with scholarships to stay in school.
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.
“This honor from the White House and
State Department is a wonderful endorsement of Akili Dada's social-change
work,” Kamau-Rutenberg said. “It also provides a platform from which Akili Dada
can spread the message about our work. I can only hope that this recognition
will lead to increased donations, which we desperately need to continue this