Pamoja ND Africa Initiative

The Pamoja Notre Dame Africa initiative, focused on integrative inquiry and professional connections, hosted a two-day conference, the Pamoja Nairobi Partnership Summit, in late May 2023 at Strathmore University Business School — Kenya's leading school of management.

With administrative and financial support from the Pulte and Kellogg Institutes and Notre Dame International, the Summit was a forum for cultivating relationships among higher education leaders in Africa.

“Because the conference wasn’t focused on a specific project, we could take a step back and imagine what’s possible,” Associate Professor of Political Science, Pulte Institute Faculty Fellow, and conference co-chair Jaimie Bleck said. “As a result, we are part of a richer social fabric.”

When organizing the event, Bleck and her co-chair Pulte Institute Core Affiliated Faculty and Keough School Associate Professor of Geography and Environmental Policy Ellis A. Adams, along with Notre Dame International Kenya Director Jackline Oluoch-Aridi recruited high-ranking leaders from African universities dedicated to the success of their institutions.  

“Once alliances are formed,” Bleck said, “it’s easier to capitalize on the potential.”

Following the Pulte Institute’s example also helped. “We’ve recognized in Pulte parallels in what we’re trying to do, but also the pragmatic savvy of making conversations happen and what it takes to sustain them,” Bleck said.

With encouragement from Vice President and Associate Provost for Internationalization Michael Pippenger, Bleck and Adams have embraced an approach that measures success by new partnerships formed — and by how many Notre Dame students look to study abroad in Africa.

“There is real potential here to engage in collaborative research,” Bleck said, “that feeds into Notre Dame’s mission to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges.”

With new bonds formed, Bleck and Adams say the focus is now on building bidirectional relationships where connection works in both directions, enabling each entity to link to the other.

“A lot of partners see Africa as just a calling for help. You go, you help, you leave. We want to do it differently because Notre Dame can do better in the region,” Adams said. “We’re reimagining the way Notre Dame can work with Africa.” 



Ellis A. Adams, Pamoja ND Africa Co-Chair
Jaimie Bleck, Pamoja ND Africa Co-Chair

  • Bernard Nahlen (Eck Institute)
  • Bupe Lughano Kabaghe (Political Science)
  • Catherine Bolten (Kroc Institute/Department of Anthropology)
  • Cristian Koepfli (Biological Sciences)
  • Danice Guzman (Pulte Institute)
  • Daniel Miller (Keough School)
  • Debora Rogo (Kroc Institute: History and Peace Studies)
  • Ebrahim Moosa (History/Kroc Institute/Keough School)
  • Elizabeth Archie (Biology)
  • Emmanuel Katongole (Theology/Keough School)
  • Erin McDonnell (Sociology)
  • Festus Amadu (Keough School)
  • Fr. Paul Kollman (Theology)
  • Fr. Paulinus Odozor (Theology/Africana)
  • Ivoline Budji Kefen (Anthropology)
  • Jackline Oluoch-Aridi (NDI)
  • John Onyango (Architecture)
  • Ken Amadi (Theology)
  • Kevin Fink (Pulte Institute)
  • Laurie Nathan (Kroc Institute/Keough)
  • Marcus Haworth (Theology)
  • Neil Lobo (Biology)
  • Patrizio Piraino (Keough School)
  • Paul Friesen (Political Science)
  • Paul Ocobock (History)
  • Rachel Sweet (Keough School)
  • Rasheed Ibrahim (Political Science)
  • Rashied Omar (Kroc Institute/Keough School)
  • Samuel Rund (Center for Research Computing)
  • Sarah Pollnow (History)
  • Taryn Dinkelman (Economics)
  • Tom Purekal (Pulte Institute)
  • Trevor Lwere (Economics)
  • Yenupini Adams (Keough School)

To be added to the Pamoja ND Africa Listserv or for more information, contact Pulte Institute’s Kevin Mann.