Issues, Limits and Possibilities: Responses to African Students Displaced by the War in Ukraine
Presented in Partnership with 8B Education Investments
The war in Ukraine has displaced more than 16,000 African students – 25% of the international student population in Ukraine – who were pursuing graduate and undergraduate education in the country. Their evacuation from the country was fraught, and their study prospects for the coming academic year are in limbo. While most of them were highly motivated and ambitious students in STEM and health fields, the conflict left many actively looking for a place to continue their education at a global college or university. Meanwhile, hopes of families that banked their household income on the attainment of an affordable European degree and its door-opening possibilities have been dashed as the Ukraine conflict continues, immigration rules for non- Ukrainians across Europe start to force students to make hard choices, and students who were poised to transform their fortunes now risk becoming refugees.
Against this backdrop, Issues, Limits and Possibilities: Responses to African Students Displaced by the War in Ukraine will feature a discussion among stakeholders involved in different aspects of the response to Ukraine. Panelists include Ms. Isha Sesay, the CEO of OkayMedia and acclaimed journalist, Macire Aribot, Founder of NoirUnited, an advocacy platform for African students displaced in Ukraine; Dr. Rajika Bhandari, international higher education expert and Dr. Adebayo Akande, Chairman and President of the University of Health Sciences Antigua; Emily London- Jones, Vice President of Enrollment Management, Miles College; Eltahir Ali, 5th-year medical student at Dnipro Medical Institute of Traditional and Non-traditional Medicine (Ukraine). The conversation will be moderated by Dr. Lydiah Kemunto Bosire, Founder/CEO of 8B Education Investments, the first platform focused on connecting African students with financing to attend global universities.
Lydiah is the founder of 8B Education Investments, the first fintech specialized in financing African students in global universities. 8B is driving innovation in the financing of African and Black excellence while contributing to diversity in global talent pools. She brings nearly 20 years of experience as a social innovator, diplomat, board director, and policy adviser. She draws on a high-profile background, including serving in the Executive Office of the UN Secretary General, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization. A native of Kenya, Lydiah holds a D.Phil in Politics from the University of Oxford (New College). She also holds an MSc in African Studies from Oxford (St. Cross College), and an MPA and a BA from Cornell University.
Seasoned and award-winning journalist Isha Sesay has covered global events and major breaking news of the past decade, with a special interest in stories of social injustice and their impact on women and girls. Of Sierra Leonean descent, Sesay grew up in Britain and holds a B.A. honors English degree from Trinity College, Cambridge University.
Most recently, Sesay was announced as the new CEO and board member for OkayMedia, a company committed to elevating Black culture and amplifying Black voices, and their newly created production arm, SPKN/WRD, which will bring fresh perspectives to the forefront across films, documentaries, television, podcasting and publishing. Prior to that, in 2020, she the hosted Home with Isha Sesay, a weekly, live 90 minutes digital news show.
Dr. Adedayo Akande is a Chicago-born/Antigua-raised businessman. He is the Chairman and President of the Caribbean-based Medical University, the University of Health Sciences Antigua. Dr. Akande became Vice-Chairman of UHSA upon the passing of his father, Dr. Yele Akande, the founder of the 40-year-old organization. In 2018, Dr. Akande became the chairman and president of UHSA. During his tenure as President, UHSA has witnessed numerous developments, even during the pandemic, including expanding its international programs and venturing into new areas of business such as psychedelic research.
Dr. Eltahir Ali is a Sudanese Biomedical researcher, equipped with 5+ years of experience in conducting research on stem cells and neurogenetic disorders. He obtained a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics, Biotechnology, and Experimental Medicine from the University of Brescia (Italy) in 2021, a Master of Science in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology (First Class with Distinction) and MBA in Hospital Management from Bharathiar University (India) in 2016. His work as an academic support officer in a secondary school in Sudan inspired him to write his first book titled, Invitation for Success and to obtain a Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Administration and Supervision (India). He is a member of European Society of Human genetics (ESHG), the Genetic Society of America (GSA), Child Rights Institute, the Students Organization for Peace and Development and other NGOs in Sudan. Currently, he is a 5th-year medical student at Dnipro Medical Institute of Traditional and Non-traditional Medicine (Ukraine).
Macire Aribot is a social entrepreneur and advocate for social and economic justice, racial equity, and unity across the African diaspora, She is the cofounder and Chief Executive Officer of NoirUnited International, a global development and humanitarian organization focused on centering Black and other marginalized people in developing their communities. She is also currently a Master’s student a Columbia University School of International Affairs concentrating in Economic and Political Development and specializing in African studies. Prior to SIPA, Macire worked at the National Democratic Institute to strengthen government transparency, electoral processes, and youth political and civil society leadership in Central and West Africa and Southern and East Africa. Macire received her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs and Global Development Studies at Mercer University.