Kenyan Parliamentary Delegation in Albany for Study Visit Arranged by SUNY Center For International Development August 4, 2003
SUNY/CID NEWS STORIES 2003
ALBANY - The State University of New York's Center for International Development (SUNY/CID) is hosting a Kenyan delegation in Albany this week as part of a federally funded study tour to assist the African nation as it continues its transition to a more representative democracy.
The 17-member delegation, led by the Deputy Speaker of the Kenyan Parliament, David Musila, will meet with legislators and SUNY officials, hear from legislative staff and other technical experts, and tour the New York State Capitol. As part of SUNY's overall partnership with Kenya, they will engage in discussions on such topics as committee oversight, constituent relations, the relationship between majority and minority parties, and recruiting staff. Comprised of committee chairs and key administrative staff, the delegation is also visiting Ottawa, Canada, to examine legislative committee operations there.
"With hopeful eyes, the world is watching the transition in Kenya following the landmark December 2002 elections in which Kenyans voted out the party that ruled their country since independence in 1963 from Britain," said Ambassador Robert Gosende, SUNY's Associate Vice Chancellor for International Affairs. "SUNY/CID will continue to work with the Kenyan Parliament to further its development as an effective lawmaking institution serving the will of the Kenyan people."
Kenya, the location of one of the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Africa, is on the front lines of the war on terror and is vitally important to the United States Government's overall policy in East Africa.
SUNY/CID, under contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development, launched in 2000, a five-year project entitled, Democratic Institution Building Assistance to the National Assembly. Its objective is to increase the Parliament of Kenya';s ability to:
- Effect legal, political and constitutional reforms that would positively impact on economic development and the democratization process in Kenya;
- Act as an arena for citizens' input in public policy and legislative formation, and articulate the concerns of ordinary citizens about important local and national issues; and
- Oversee and monitor the policies and actions of the executive branch of government.
Since its inception in 1986, SUNY/CID has administered more than $100 million of international development projects on five continents, focusing on three areas: democracy, the environment, and economic development. SUNY/CID is currently directing six projects that focus on strengthening democracies and legislative bodies in Bolivia, Mexico, Peru, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Tanzania, as well as regional legislative projects in Southern and Eastern Africa.
Governance project activities are targeted to both sides of the governmental equation. SUNY/CID assists parliaments, legislatures, local governments and court systems to function more effectively, and it also helps citizen groups and non-governmental organizations to interact more successfully with governments. SUNY/CID has also coordinated several conferences on legislative strengthening that have served as a forum for practitioners, legislators, and academics to advance the study and practice of improving legislatures.