Her name is Karambu Ringera and she is from Kenya is East Africa. Karambu says some of the peace initiative programs the United States has done in her country influenced her decision to study in the United States. “I decided to come to the United States because I had heard that they have a very good education system here for graduate studies and I had done research and had possibilities of doing studies in Britain and I was already in South Africa when I got my admission into the university here in the United States,” she says. “What I like best about the education here is the coursework that I had to go through to be able to understand a lot more about the area I am interested in. I wasn’t interested in just a research doctoral program I wanted to be able to do some coursework and looking at the different kind of initiatives that has been done in education and peace studies, the United States offered me the most variety of options that I could come across,” she says. “Also, the United States had done a lot of research in different conflict areas like the Middle East, like the former Russian countries and also in some places in Africa like South Africa and therefore, right here I had an opportunity to get a varied perspective of being peace in the rest of the world, but also the fact that they had some very interesting programs already in Africa is one of the reasons why I chose to come here for my education."
Karambu is a communications student and a member of the University of Denver’s International Graduate Student Ambassadors Program for Leadership. She says she is enjoying her studies and that the university has equipped her with the necessary tools that helped her create an organization that she is very proud of. “It is at the University of Denver doing this program that I came to understand more about effective inter-cultural education issues and how our culture, our socialization, our nationality and stuff like that create different identification or identities and I wanted to see how do people negotiate their different identities and identification so that they understand themselves better, but also that they understand other people better,” she says. “Because I believe that it is in understanding each other’s culture and the way that we are recognizing and valuing that difference there is a possibility of creating peace amongst people and so for me the University of Denver provided a very powerful tool in applying class situations or things that I learned in class into real life experiences and through my class project I was able to create an organization that I work with now called ‘International Peace Initiatives’, the NGO that I work with to help build peace in Africa and also build understanding amongst people from different cultural background."
So what are some things that Karambu has enjoyed while being in the United States? She says, “Oh, there are very many things I have enjoyed being here in the United States and one of them has been just getting use to the different types of food here,” she says. “When I first came here the first lunch invitation that I got the person who took me out said ‘what will you have? Here is the menu’ and I couldn’t even tell what was in the menu so I said ‘I will eat what you order,’ and then he ordered this huge plate of salad and when the food came out [I said] like ‘who eats this?’ and today I will tell you that salad is one of my best dishes here,” she says. “So food was a great difference, but I have gotten to love the food now. Another thing I have gotten to love about the United States is the openness of people and the sincerity of people, but also the generosity of people,” she adds. “The United States has got resources that can really make a difference outside there and I have experience the community in Denver as a very generous and very open-minded community that together we have been able to create an inter-cultural communication network here that is making a lot difference in Kenya.”
Karambu Ringera is expected to graduate from the University of Denver in 2007. Then she will return to Kenya and continue to be an active participant in peace initiative programs.