Magazine article International Educator

Alumna Founds School on Limited Resources

Magazine article International Educator

Alumna Founds School on Limited Resources

Article excerpt

COLLEGE-BUILDING IN AFRICA

KlBRE DAWlT knows all about the challenges of founding a school with limited resources.

As a graduate student at the George Washington University School of Business in the early 1990s, Dawit had a vision to start a university for the less fortunate. But after founding a school in 2000, she realized the hardships of getting an educational institution off the ground.

Many students at her school cannot afford their own textbooks, much less the cost of tuition. And perhaps the most difficult part of this college is its location: central Ethiopia, Africa.

"We are working with inputs that Ethiopia does not currently have," she said.

Dawit, 43, was born as the daughter of a diplomat and grew up living in various parts of Africa, Europe, Canada and the United States. She received her undergraduate degree at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield. Iowa, before attending GW for graduate business school.

"I chose GW because it is in the capital of the United States," Dawit said. "GW's program was also one of the top in the nation."

While completing her master's in business administration, Dawit worked full time at the GW Hospital and attended classes at night. As if studies were not enough, she also raised a child.

"I slept for only four and a half hours every night between 1985 and 1990," Dawit said.

In 1991, Dawit received her M.B.A. from GW and considered continuing her studies to pursue a doctorate.

"I took management courses because America reached its (potential) by knowing management skills," said Dawit, who hopes to utilize her education to help Ethiopia develop.

Instead of attempting to get her doctorate in the mid-90s, Dawit moved to Ethiopia and helped start the Africa Village Academy, a non-governmental organization that helped train Ethiopian farmers and educate Ethiopian women and youth.

As an extension of her interests in education, Dawit established Kisama Africa University along with partner Samrawit Haimanot. …

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