Kenyan Elected Student Leader of Major US University
A Kenyan student has made history after being elected the president of one of the largest, oldest and most famous American universities.
Bradley Opere, in his early 20s, studied at Nairobi’s Sunshine Secondary School where he scored a mean grade A in his national examinations in 2010.
He he then joined South Africa’s African Leadership Academy and then went to the University of North Carolina in 2013.
He won the presidential race with 53 per cent of the overall vote and avoided a run-off.
The race drew more voters than any student body president election in years.
“I think it sends a very important signal that the university student population is looking for leadership in the sense of policy, curriculum and inclusion,” Deborah Stroman, former chairperson of the Carolina Black Caucus, told University of North Carolina student newspaper Daily Tar Heel.
Chairman of the university’s board of elections Grayson Berger said the elections marked the highest voter turnout in the university’s past five elections.
Ms Stroman said she thinks Mr Opere will bring positive change to the university because of his relationship with the students’ body.
“I’m excited that Bradley is well liked by his peers, has lots of energy and will probably bring perspectives that will help us with the next academic year,” she said.
IN OBAMA’S FOOTSTEPS
Mr Opere said he has been in a state of elation since the election.
In an interview with the university’s publication, Mr Opere said he loves politics, but had initially shied away from participating in anything linked to this interest.
He said that as the students’ body president, he would seek to tell a different narrative about what African leadership is.
He also joked that the experience could earn him an invitation to the White House to meet President Obama – if the President got to hear that there was a students’ body president from Kenya heading one of America’s largest public universities.
Mr Obama, whose father Barack Hussein Obama Senior was born in Luo Nyanza in 1936, and died in a car accident in 1982, became the first African-American President of the Harvard Review.
Mr Opere is pursuing a double major in business and political science at UNC on full scholarship.