2016 CAU Summer Research Program

Program Newsletter

Summer 2016





Beijing | Nairobi | New York

Unique Perspectives

A unique opportunity to help young students grow with field study experience and capability under the global context, with the well-shaped perspective from the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on the most challenging issues facing Kenya, Africa.

Hands-on Experiences

Students have been placed to interview directly with local communites in order to fulfill their field study tasks with 10+ institutions including UNEP headquarter, Maasai community schools, Nairobi orphanage, wilderlife conservation NGOs, etc.

Strong Academic Features

The onsite academic mentor team is formed by Harvard and Columbia alumni and local experts from renowned research institutes and NGOs, with well-rounded research plan and field study methodologies. Group discussion and workshops on related topics are held on the daily basis.


Innovative Education Program Design

The CAU project is an innovative educational and research program on sustainable development topics. Jointly led by the academic team of GEC and SIG, School of Social Work of Columbia University, the participating students have accomplished excellent field study results and recognized by their home universities and schools. The multiple locations does not mean separate trips, but a holistic program design that overcomes physical distance, academic gaps, and cultural barriers. The four groups have all produced good quality field study reports with localized and in-depth understanding of the issues to be tackled:

  • Increase the Number of Qualified Teachers in Rural Nairobi (Education)
  • Measures to Reduce Maasai Communities Heart Attack Mortality (Health Care)
  • Eliminate FGM in Remote Maasai Communities (Gender Equality)
  • Alternative Energy Options for Suburban Nairobi (Environment)

Study As a Global Citizen

The China-Africa-USA(CAU) summer academic program successfully completed in the summer of 2016. The program was jointly designed by Global Education Connection(GEC) and its partner Social Intervention Group(SIG), School of Social Work at Columbia University. The 6 online pre-training sessions in Beijing over two months in advance, 10-day intensive field studies in Nairobi and 3-day customized workshop lectures by SIG faculties have provided students with a unique chance to upgrade their skills.


and knowledge, make a positive contribution, and build strong proven academic capabilities. Four study groups(5 students per group), mentored by the Harvard and Columbia alumni, are assigned substantatial, policy-oriented topics on African development that include sustainable education, gender equality, healthcare and environment conservation, under the framework of the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs). Each team produces an actionable report and an oral briefing with self-designed and self-operatie research plan. It is the first overseas pre-college education program in China on public policy and development with combined trainings on both practical field study skills in Africa and theoretical knowledge learning to a real-world issue in the US. The program have been scored by students as the most valuable program among other summer education programs.

Local Impacts and Social Responsibilities

While achieving their academic performance of the CAU program, the students also made social impacts to local Masai communities and committed to social responsibilities. Partnership has been established between CAU program and local NGOs to increase public awareness and improve living quality for people in Nairobi through their networks. The future CAU programs will continue to play such positive roles.


Photo Gallery


Visit Africa Cultural Heritage House


Institutional Visit at Nairobi Elephant Orphanage


Workshop Class at UNEP headquarter


Outdoor Safari to Remote Masai Community


Local Community School in Masai Tribe


Student Discussion on SDGs


Field Interview at Local Women Rescue Center


Biodiversity Study Tour at Lake Naiwasha


Group Debate near Lake Naiwasha by Local Mentor


Wild Giraffe March Captured in Field Trip


Field Trip at Masa Mara National Park


Field Trip at Masa Mara National Park


Mid-term Briefing at Base Hotel in Nairobi


In-class Training Opening Session with SIG


Lecture on SDGs with Columbia Faculty


Project Final Briefing in New York


Workshop Discussion at Columbia University


Last Day at Columbia University after Campus Tour