Neema Mawiyoo '07 - From St. Lawrence to the World Stage

Ngwatilo “Neema” Mawiyoo ’07 took parts of her St. Lawrence Fellowship research to the international stage last summer.

For her fellowship, Mawiyoo researched and wrote a manuscript of poems around the idea of “home,” which caused her begin to consider what it meant to be "Kenyan," at home and abroad. This has inspired her to learn more, and was the theme of her TEDx Nairobi talk, “Framing the Future,” in July.

“While working on my fellowship, I realized that while I had lived in Kenya most of my life, I didn't know it,” she says. “That realization is a large part of what made me return to Kenya quickly after graduating.

“I’ve realized that ‘my Kenya’ has to grow wider, especially given the privileges I have as part of a small middle class that defines Kenya for itself and others, that asserts what development and growth look like,” she says. “When we do this without understanding who and where we are, we can easily fail but also destroy assets that would help us in our cause. That's why the lessons of this project are urgent for Nairobi to learn and urgent for me to tell.”

At St. Lawrence, Mawiyoo was a music major and a Laurentian Singer. She was a member of the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and the African Student Union, and was a Resident Assistant.