President Obama visits YALI Center in Nairobi


DLR Group and MASS Design Group, alongside Deloitte Consulting, have partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development to design the Young African Leaders Initiative Regional Leadership Center East Africa at Kenyatta University in Nairobi. The facility is part of President Barrack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). President Obama spoke at the Regional Leadership Center East Africa during his trip to Kenya for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in July 2015.

One of four planned centers, The Nairobi Regional Leadership Center will improve the quality and availability of leadership training programs and professional development opportunities for African leaders. It is intended to engage young leaders from a wide range of organizations and backgrounds with a diversity of leadership experiences.

“The Regional Leadership Center East Africa YALI center is DLR Group’s second project at Kenyatta University and it is exciting to see the design come to fruition,” said DLR Group Principal Chris Osore, AIA, LEED AP, who leads the firm’s Higher Education practice in Africa. “DLR Group is proud to be part of this exciting project that will help develop and educate the future leaders who will guide the future of Africa.”

“We’re excited that MASS can contribute to such an innovative initiative,” said Michael Murphy, MASS’s Executive Director and Co-Founder. “MASS is thrilled to be part of a dynamic design team putting together this distinctly Kenyan space for students from across the continent.”

Designed by DLR Group and MASS, the YALI center is inspired by the idea that future African leaders will continue to grapple with the ideas of relevance and balance. The design concept explores the intersection of modern technology with traditional, indigenous materials and vernacular to create a collaborative learning environment to prepare students for today’s demanding work environments. The main program includes a lecture hall, a sandbox classroom, three technology rich seminar rooms, two large classrooms with the ability to be divided into four smaller classrooms, and a main student learning commons fitted with a coffee/snack bar and informal instructional spaces. These semi-public and semi-private spaces will be the domain for the students’ 12-week, rigorous curriculum concentrated on Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership and Public Engagement.