MIT News –
It is a warm September evening. Kudzaishe Zharare ’19, the president of the MIT African Students’ Association who hails from Harare, Zimbabwe, has spent the day welcoming students from various African countries at Boston Logan International Airport. It is International Student Orientation week.
Gathered together for a welcome dinner, first-year students, current members, and even some alumni talk and greet the incoming international students. The people seated around the table all have slightly different backgrounds. Some international students grew up on the African continent, but went to high school abroad, in the United States or the United Kingdom. Many come from cities, including capitals like Nairobi, Kenya; Lagos, Nigeria; or Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and others from more rural and less-resourced areas. Some current members are first-generation, born and raised entirely in the United States, but with immigrant parents from various African countries.
This is the core of what the MIT African Students’ Association, or ASA, represents — it is first and foremost one of the many vitally important MIT student communities, a place where students can find a home and support network.
But the MIT ASA is also a microcosm of a continent, home to some of its best and brightest scholars and engineers. It is where conversations about innovation, politics, entrepreneurship, ethics, and much more take place. Some of these conversations will blossom, carrying beyond MIT, following graduates back to their home countries and communities.