Faculty and Staff
Prof Lawrence Pintak
Lawrence Pintak, PhD is the dean of the Graduate School of Media and Communications. He is an award-winning journalist and scholar who has reported from four continents, including 18 African countries and 15 Arab states. He was previously the founding dean of The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University (2009-2016). Pintak was named a Fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2017 for “outstanding service to the profession of journalism" around the world and received the AEJMC Senior Scholar award in 2019.
A former CBS News Middle East correspondent, Dr. Pintak been called the foremost chronicler of the interaction between Arab and Western media. His books and articles focus on America's relationship with the Muslim world, the role of the media in shaping global perceptions and government policy, and the global challenges to press freedom.
Dr. Pintak reported on the birth of modern suicide bombing and the rise of Hezbollah in Beirut, the Iran-Iraq War, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and a variety of other stories across the Middle East. His career extends from the Ford White House to the Indonesian revolution, the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict to Zimbabwe's independence war. He has won two Overseas Press Club awards and was twice nominated for international Emmys.
In the years leading up to the Arab Spring, Dr. Pintak directed what was then the pre-eminent journalism training center in the Middle East at the American University in Cairo and helped develop Karachi's
Centre for Excellence in Journalism. He has also advised journalism schools in the Caucasus, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, and South Asia.
His work appears in The New York Times, ForeignPolicy.com, CNN.com, Axios.com, Vox.com, The Seattle Times and a variety of other publications and he is frequently interviewed by NPR, CNN, Al Jazeera, the BBC, and news organizations around the world.
Dr. Pintak hosted
The Murrow Interview, a series of broadcast conversations with leading figures in international affairs and global journalism and was founding publisher of the online journal Arab Media & Society.
He is the author of five books, including America & Islam: Soundbites, Suicide Bombs and the Road to Donald Trump (2019), Islam for Journalists (co-editor, 2014); The New Arab Journalist (2011); Reflections in a Bloodshot Lens: America, Islam & the War of Ideas (2006); Seeds of Hate: How America's Flawed Middle East Policy Ignited the Jihad (2003); and Beirut Outtakes (1988). He holds a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and is a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute.
Dr Nancy Booker
Dr Booker is an Assistant Professor and the Director of Academic Affairs at the Graduate School of Media and Communications. She has had a distinguished career as an academic, teacher, researcher and media practitioner with over 18 years teaching and academic administration experience. Dr Booker specializes in broadcast journalism, multimedia storytelling, media management and health communication, and has several academic publications in these areas. She has also been trained in leadership at Harvard.
Nancy was head of the Department of Journalism and Communication at Multimedia University and was actively involved in teaching, mentorship, research, and curriculum development. She previously taught at Daystar University and ABC University in Liberia.
She had stints at the national broadcaster, KBC, and later Nation Media Group’s flagship, NTV, where she honed her skills. Presently, she is a regular commentator on local TV stations.
Nancy has served in various leadership positions, and is currently a juror for the Annual Journalism Excellence Awards organised by the Media Council of Kenya. She is currently the treasurer of the East African Communication Association that she helped found. The organisation is involved in harnessing regional synergies and capacity building for media and communication scholars in the region.
As part of her service to the community, Nancy is the chair of the Kenyan board of Amani Ya Juu, a social economic enterprise committed to peace and reconciliation for women from several African nations and cultures.
Dr Sam Kamau
Dr Kamau is a faculty member at the Graduate School of Media and Communications. He is a media and communications scholar and practitioner with 12 years’ experience in academia. Sam joined AKU in 2015, after 8 years at the University of Nairobi, School of Journalism as a faculty member.
Sam holds a PhD in Communication Studies with a specialisation in social media and political communication. His experience, teaching and research interests revolve around; political communication, audiences, journalism studies, innovation in media, social media, digital advocacy, media and social impact, among others
Dr. Kamau is a media and communications trainer and consultant. He has trained communication professionals and organisations on communication strategy, social media management, digital advocacy strategy, political risk analysis and management, dealing with misinformation and disinformation, crisis communication among others.
A regular conference speaker, Sam is a common face in many industry and academic conferences, roundtables and panel discussions. He is also a regular guest on television and radio shows offering commentary and analysis on contemporary and topical issues.
Dr Peter Kimani
Peter Kimani, PhD, is an internationally acclaimed author, journalist and editor. As an interdisciplinary scholar, his research cuts across four main areas: journalism, creative writing, African literature, and postcolonial studies. He specialises in 20th Century African literature, East Africa's South Asian diaspora, and the politics of language and decolonisation. His work explores how colonial discourse is constructed and reconstructed in contemporary journalistic practice and its implications on Africa's development. This intersectionality of journalism and creative writing feels fortuitous; as digital media continue to disrupt the way information is gathered and disseminated, traditional media are increasingly turning to creative writing strategies to inaugurate new forms of storytelling.
Dr Kimani has published four books—including Dance of the Jakaranda, a New York Times Notable Book of 2017. He was one of only three international poets commissioned by NPR to present a poem to mark Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009. His journalism has been published in leading newspapers of the world, from the New York Times to the NewAfrican, the oldest pan-African newsmagazine. He also served as a senior writer/editor and columnist for the Daily Nation and The Standard, two of the region's largest media organisations.
He reported all major news developments in the nation and region. He was deployed to Darfur to report the 2004 atrocities, now the subject of an International Criminal Court investigation; covered conflicts in Northern Uganda and Somalia; reconstruction efforts in South Sudan; HIV/Aids in Botswana, among others. His journalistic oeuvre at both The Standard and the Daily Nation long surpassed the 1,000-mark comprising deep investigations, penetrating analyses, features, opinions and editorials.
Dr Kimani has taught at the prestigious Amherst College and the University of Houston, where he completed a doctorate supervised by Ngugi wa Thiong'o, one of the world's best-known living writers.
Click here to view his publications.
Henry is a Teaching Assistant at the Graduate School of Media and Communications. Prior to joining GSMC, Henry worked at Radio Africa Group (The Star newspaper) as a news reporter, where he was seconded to the Health Desk.
He has also worked as the coordinator for the Kenya Media Network on Population and Development (KEMEP), a Network of like-minded journalists, whose primary engagement is to research and highlight human interest stories such as female genital mutilation, early marriages and population and development stories from across the country.
Henry is currently pursuing a PhD in Communication and Information Studies from the University of Nairobi, with a special interest in Terrorism and Media. He obtained both his MA in Communication and Information Studies and Bachelor’s (Hons) in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of Nairobi.
Expertise: journalism, terrorism and media, human interest stories, language and cross-cultural.
Gitonga is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Graduate School of Media and Communications. His role includes strategy, corporate affairs, public relations, partnerships, communications, student affairs, and other varying administrative capacities.
His prior engagements involved Campus Director at Edulink International College, Kenya, founding Assistant Dean of Students (Nairobi Campus), and later founder of the Office of Corporate Affairs, Kenya Methodist University.
With a background in the agricultural sciences, his education has focused on environment and technology. He is currently pursuing a PhD in the Institute of Climate Change and Adaptation at the University of Nairobi, with a focus on remote sensing, digital data, blockchain and conservation.
Expertise: strategy, corporate affairs, public relations, partnerships, communications, student affairs, remote sensing, digital data, blockchain and conservation.
John is the Executive Officer of the Graduate School of Media and Communications. His major responsibilities are to provide project management and administrative support in setting up GSMC. This entails managing the development and implementation of the school’s strategic plan, marketing plan and operational policies; managing the teaching programs; managing the budget and preparing periodic reports, and managing the staff and facilities.
Prior to joining GSMC, John spent nine years at KCA University one of the largest private universities in Nairobi. He joined the university as an adjunct lecturer and rose through the ranks to be the founding chair of the Department of Accounting and Finance. By the time he left the university, he was the university registrar. Prior to this, he had worked as a consultant on local government management and as a college principal.
Augustine is the campus librarian of the Graduate School of Media and Communications. He re-joined the AKU fraternity from a sister AKDN organisation, the Nation Media Group, where he was working as the Print Librarian overseeing the Print Library collection and user services.
Mr Gitonga previously worked as a Librarian at the Faculty of Health Sciences between 2005 and 2012 where he was in charge of Technical services. During this time, he successfully championed the rolling out of various library operating systems and the development of procedure manuals and policies. He also played a key role in library collection management and reference work.
Earlier he worked as head librarian Presbyterian College where he laid the groundwork for the present Presbyterian University of East Africa.
Augustine holds MA in Communication Studies (University of Nairobi) and Bachelor of Technology (BTech) in Library and Information Studies (Technikon, SA -UNISA).
Augustine has interests in research and writing as well as in information services and communications.
Marion is the Technical Operations Manager of the Graduate School of Media and Communications. With a wide experience in the telecommunications and broadcast engineering field in Kenya, Marion previously was the Head of Technical Services at Mediamax Network before joining GSMC. During her career she has been involved in the setting up of TV and Radio studios, Outside Broadcasting Vans and remote Transmissions for stations such as K24TV, Ebru TV, Kameme FM, Milele FM, Meru FM and many more.
Marion holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Science and Telecommunications Engineering from ___. She is also is an Executive Board Member of Habel Nyamu High School in Kirinyaga County where she is actively involved in mentoring female students on how to excel in science subjects.
Expertise: telecommunications and broadcasting, consult broadcast engineer, mentorship
Soraiya is the Broadcast Manager of the Graduate School of Media and Communications at Aga Khan University.
Prior to joining the GSMC, Soraiya was the Programmes Manager then the Interim Director of AKU’s East Africa Institute. She also owned and operated a consultancy firm specialising in communication & media strategy for corporates and political parties, as well as strategic interventions for brand alignment and management.
With a BJourn from Rhodes University & USIU and a PGDip (Hons) from the Sol Plaatje Institute of Rhodes University, Soraiya has worked as both in the hospitality and public sector.
Expertise: political communication, marketing, communication & media strategy.
Alykhan is a Program Manager at the Graduate School of Media and Communications (GSMC), Aga Khan University. He has led the development and implementation of various projects pertaining to executive education, grants, partnerships and fellowships. Notably, he founded the Mobile Video Journalism Fellowship (a collaboration with Facebook) and successfully managed the Transforming Leadership for 21st Century Africa program in collaboration with the Harvard Kennedy School.
Outside of work, Alykhan is the vice-chair of the Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board for Kenya and directs youth development strategy and operations for the Ismaili community across Eastern and Southern Africa. He is passionate about leadership, mentorship, communication, lifelong learning and technology. On the weekends you can find him searching for the best coffee in Kenya. Alykhan holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Business and Marketing from Anglia Ruskin University, UK.
Marietta is a Specialist for Academic Affairs at the Graduate School of Media and Communications. She manages the overall administration, coordination and everyday operations of GSMC’s academic division’s activities, including coordinating the school’s special projects. She also supports the building of partnerships between GSMC and its stakeholders.
With over 10 years’ experience in programme coordination, Marietta has a passion for achieving social change for deprived communities. She is also currently a climate change columnist in The Catholic Mirror, a monthly magazine for the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Marietta is a trained Community Development practitioner with a Master’s degree in Project Planning and Management and a certified Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) practitioner.
Expertise: administration, stakeholder partnerships, climate change, social change for deprived communities.
Sanday is the Senior Assistant at the Graduate School of Media and Communications. She supports senior executives, administrative teams, short courses, projects and events.
With over 15 years of proven expertise in administrative roles both in the business field, health sector and university setting, Sanday has previous experience working at Aga Khan University Hospital and Aga Khan University in the office of the Provost.
Sanday is a graduate in Business Administration at Graffins College and currently at United States International University - Africa. She holds diplomas in secretarial studies, typing and office management.
Asha is the Assistant Registrar of the Graduate School of Media and Communications. Her role encompasses student recruitment, admissions, enrolment, managing student academic records, production of transcripts and convocation. Asha is also responsible for student experience on the Kenya campus providing high quality, student-centred and professional support to meet the needs of students.
Asha is a graduate of the School of Information Sciences at Moi University. With 8 years of experience in records management, Asha has previously worked at Riara University managing examinations and academic records.
Expertise: student recruitment, admission, enrolment, student academic records management, convocation.
Christine is the Communications Officer at the Graduate School of Media and Communications.
With over ten years’ experience working in the education sector in the communications, marketing and events field, Christine previously worked at Strathmore Business School where she managed to grow the schools’ admission numbers, visibility, brand equity and online presence in the region.
Christine holds an MA in Communication, Media and Advertising from the University of Leicester (UK) and a BA in Social Communication from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (KE). She is also a Bloomberg Media Fellow and is currently pursuing a Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Marketing.
Expertise: communications management, marketing, event planning
Daniel is the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) support for the Graduate School of Media and Communications. He provides high-quality, timely and professional services and technical support in a wide range of areas regarding all areas of tech.
Previously, Daniel worked as an information and communication technology support at the Aga Khan University Hospital.
Daniel is a graduate at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in information technology.
Expertise: Information and Communication Technology, technical support, virtual learning environment.
George is the Assistant Librarian of the Graduate School of Media and Communications. With a background in working in the higher education industry, George is skilled in information management, information collection development, information literacy, reference research and research assistance.
George obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Library and Information Science from Makerere University.
Expertise: information management, information collection development, information literacy, reference research and research assistance.
Laban is the Studio and ICT officer at the Graduate School of Media and Communications for the Teaching and Learning Unit. A portion of his role includes assisting students on how to navigate AKU’s virtual learning environment and constructing the radio and TV studio at GSMC.
Prior to joining GSMC, Laban worked at the Aga Khan University Hospital as a client service engineer. That included setting up of the Heart and Cancer Center IT infrastructure and upgrading the hospital management system, among other tasks.
Laban holds a Bachelor’s of Business in Information Technology from St. Paul’s University, a diploma in Computer Science and Networking and a various number of IT certifications including ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), Microsoft Server virtualization, Cybersecurity, CCNA, A+, N+, Mac Hardware Administration and Google Digital Skills for Africa.
Expertise: Information and Communications Technology, virtual learning environment, client service, hospital management systems.
Dr Njoki Chege
Dr Chege is the Director, Innovation Centre at the Graduate School of Media and Communications- Aga Khan University. The Innovation Centre is aimed at enhancing media viability in East Africa. Based in Nairobi, the center provides training, coaching and mentorship to media innovators in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Njoki has over 9 years' experience in the media as a journalist, columnist and editor. As the Editor, Lifestyle (Pishi) at Nation Media Group, she was responsible for Pishi, an innovative lifestyle content project. Her research interests focus on media innovation and sustainability. She has previously taught graduate courses at Daystar University.
Hesbon is a Research Associate at Aga Khan University’s Media Innovation Center and an adjunct lecturer at the Graduate School of Media and Communications. His areas of expertise include media viability, the role model of the media in a multi-ethnic democracy, political communication and the political economy of the media.
A PhD candidate in political communication, Hesbon has ten years of university teaching and research experience. He has co-authored two publications in the field of journalism and media studies.
Expertise: media viability, the role model of the media in a multi-ethnic democracy, political communication, political economy of the media
Benson is the Innovation Center’s Community Manager. As the face of the Innovation Center, he is responsible for community needs, assists the vibrant, diverse and dynamic innovators, fosters ideas and communities to converge and supports interpersonal and partnership relationships. As a dynamic person, his multi-skilled nature makes him a unique and valuable asset to the Innovation Center and AKU.
Prior to working at the Innovation Centre, Benson has previously worked as a Community Manager at the globally recognized innovation hub and hackerspace, iHub. He has also worked in PR, human resources, project management and account management roles.
Benson holds a BA in International Business from the United States International University.
Expertise: community needs, relationship and partnership building, innovator management
Caleb is the Communication Officer at the Innovation Center. He is responsible for planning, developing, implementing and evaluating communication plans to support the goals and priorities of the Innovation Center.
Caleb previously worked in the Public Relations sector under communication agencies serving a variety of corporate clientele. Through his six years in PR agencies, Caleb has gained experience in handling crisis communications, media relations, internal communications, event management, stakeholder management, product PR, sports sponsorships and content development for corporate clients.
Caleb holds a BA in Public Relations and is finalizing his MA in Corporate Communications at Daystar University.
Expertise: planning, developing, implementing and evaluating communication plans, public relation
Clare is the Grants Officer at the Innovation Center. She provides financial and administrative advice and support services to designated programme staff. She also serves as the liaison between GSMC, Deutsche Welle Akademie (DWA) and KfW interpreting both KfW and AKU requirements and policies. Clare provides support to obtain newly available information on funding volume, timing of reports and compliance with regulatory and contractual requirements under the grant.
Prior to joining The Innovation Center, Clare worked for PwC Kenya where she was involved in projects and grant management for various donor-funded projects in the Public and not for profit sectors. Her work also involved providing mentorship and support to nascent organizations to improve efficiency and effectiveness of their operating systems.
Clare holds a Master of Science in Economics and Finance from the University of Leeds and a BA in Economics and Sociology from Egerton University.
Expertise: financial and administrative advisor, external liaison