Faculty and Staff
Dr Alex Awiti
Dr. Alex Awiti is the Vice Provost East Africa and the Interim Dean of The Graduate School of Media and Communications at The Aga Khan University. He was born in Kisumu, Kenya, and holds a PhD in Ecosystems Ecology from the University of Nairobi. Dr. Awiti has been central to the development and initiation of the Institute. From the outset, he has brought an unparalleled commitment to, and knowledge of, the region including key issues that challenge it as well as the tremendous possibilities that exist in marshaling civil society to ensure a sustainable future for the people and the environment that houses them. Dr. Awiti possesses an infectious, enthusiastic conviction regarding the pivotal role that policy analysis and development must play to realize this for East Africa.
Prior to joining AKU, Dr. Awiti was a postdoctoral fellow with the Earth Institute at Columbia University, New York. For two years he worked under the mentorship of Jeffery D Sachs, a world-renowned professor of economics, and the World Food Prize Laureate, Pedro A Sanchez. He has also served as Adjunct Assistant Professor, Columbia School of International and Public Affairs.
Dr Nancy Booker
Director, Academic Affairs
Dr. Nancy Booker is an Assistant Professor and the Director of Academic Affairs at GSMC.
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. Sam Kamau is a media and communications scholar and practitioner based at Aga Khan University’s Graduate School of Media and Communications 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
Dr. Peter Kimani is a founding faculty member of the Graduate School of Media and Communications. An award-winning journalist and author, he has put in 20 years on Kenya’s vibrant national press, rising to senior editor at The Standard, where he still writes a weekly column. His work has also appeared in The Guardian, The New African, and Sky News, among others.
As a writer and columnist for the Daily Nation, Peter toured Kenya and the region extensively, covering conflicts from Darfur to Somalia, while documenting reconstruction efforts, from South Sudan to Somaliland.
He is the author of three novels, Before The Rooster Crows, Upside Down and his latest, Dance of the Jacaranda which are widely studied in Kenyan schools and the region and was one of only three international poets commissioned by the National Public Radio to compose and present poems to mark Barack Obama’s inauguration in January 2009.
Click here to view his publications.
Prof Rhonda Breit
Prof. Rhonda Breit, LLB, PhD, is a distinguished academic leader, teacher and researcher who specialises in the field of media law, ethics and journalism education.
She is an Associate Professor at the Aga Khan University’s Graduate School of Media and Communications, and led the accreditation of the University’s MA in Digital Journalism. Launched in January 2018, the MA in Digital Journalism is a two-year program aimed at enhancing journalists’ multimedia production skills whilst fostering specialist reporting expertise and innovation and leadership to help develop East Africa’s future media leaders. During her time at AKU, Rhonda has been a member of the Review Committee tasked with revising the Ethics Review System across the university. She is currently involved in developing curriculum in the areas of Media Leadership and Innovation and Strategic Communication. In addition, Rhonda is overseeing an exciting collaboration with Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government with the launch of Transforming Leadership in 21st Century Africa. This is an innovative suite of courses aimed at strengthening leadership across the continent.
Throughout her 20-year career in academia, she has published widely in high impact academic journals in the fields of media law, ethics and journalism education. Her sole authored book Professional Communication: Legal and Ethical Issues (2011) has been adopted widely across Australian universities.
A passionate and dedicated teacher, Rhonda has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to learning and teaching in the field of media law and ethics. Throughout her career, Rhonda has overseen several learning and teaching projects including spearheading a national discipline standards project for Journalism, Media and Communications Disciplines in Australia.
She has also been involved in projects relating to benchmarking employability attributes in journalism programs and overseeing a de-westernisation of the Journalism Curriculum project at the University of Queensland in Brisbane Australia. She is an editorial board member of SOTL in South, an online open source and peer-reviewed journal dedicated to fostering dialogue and research on teaching and learning in higher education in the global South.
Before joining AKU-GSMC, Rhonda headed the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. She has held a key leadership role with the Australian Journalism Educators’ Associated, where she held the position of Vice-President Research for four years.
Click here to view more publications.
Distinguished Visiting Faculty
Salim Amin is co-founder and Chairman of Africa24 Media, Chairman of Camerapix, and founder and Chairman of The Mohamed Amin Foundation.
He has been in the media industry for 30 years as a photographer, cameraman, producer, presenter and trainer and has won numerous awards for his documentary work.
He is a Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forums, a Fellow of the African Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. In December 2012, the New African Magazine listed him as one of the “100 Most Influential Africans” and “top 50 Under 50” Africans and his weekly Talk Show “The Scoop” has a global reach of over 300 million people on television, radio and online.
Management Consultant and Executive Coach
Mike was the founding chairman of the Kenya ICT Federation and is deeply involved in numerous organisations, including the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), of which he is a founding governor, and KCA University, where he is chairman of the University Council. He is also on the Council of the Kenya Education Management Institute. Mike Eldon is a management consultant and executive coach who conducts trainings and retreats on topics such as culture strengthening and strategy development. A former IT executive, Mr. Eldon was the founding chairman of the Kenya ICT Federation and is deeply involved in numerous organisations, including the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), of which he is a founding governor, and KCA University, where he is chairman of the University Council. Mr. Eldon is a non-Executive Director of Davis & Shirtliff, as well as Hotpoint Appliances and the African Institute for Development Policy. He is also on the Council of the Kenya Education Management Institute. An active member of the Rotary Club of Nairobi for four decades, Mr. Eldon is the founder of The DEPOT (The Dan Eldon Place of Tomorrow), a capacity-building and training facility that focuses on experiential learning. He also is the author of Kenyans, Yes we can!, and is a regular columnist for Business Daily.
Director Of Environmental Reporting Program
Andrew Tkach has over 25 years of experience producing documentaries and TV magazine reports, in some of the world’s most difficult places and has won 8 News and Documentary Emmys for his work.
Most recently he was in Ukraine where he directed a feature length documentary on the Maidan revolution and subsequent war with a group of Ukrainian filmmakers called #Babylon’13. “Generation Maidan: A Year of Revolution & War” premiered at the FIFDH, Geneva’s Human Rights Film Festival, in March.
Before that he documented how climate change was affecting the last hunters to rely on dog sleds in northwest Greenland. The program “On Thin Ice” was produced with Ann Curry for NBC News and is a Webby honoree.
Two years ago he was nominated for a News & Documentary Emmy for a TV magazine expose of child labor and mercury poisoning he produced with Richard Engel called “The Real Price of Gold.”
Previously he interviewed the Chinese dissident artists Ai Weiwei in Beijing, just days before his arrest and the film “The Artivist” was shown at the 2013 Human Rights Film Festival in Geneva. He also produced the one hour documentary “Imelda & Me” for Al Jazeera Correspondent.
Prior to forming his own company, Messy Moment Media, Tkach was the principal long form producer of Christiane Amanpour – CNN’s chief international correspondent. They collaborated on a string of award winning CNN documentaries, and over 30 TV magazine reports for 60 Minutes. He also produced a one hour documentary for National Geographic called “The World’s Most Dangerous Gang” on MS-13. His documentary on modern day slavery produced for ABC News documentary show Turning Point won a Dupont Silver Baton. He has taught broadcast journalism at the University of Indonesia, and in Paris at the Sciences Po Journalism School. He earned his MS in journalism from Columbia University.
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 college principal.
Thomas Ombech is responsible for the daily financial operations and management in the Graduate School of Media and Communications (GSMC) at Aga Khan University. His duties include financial feasibility studies of the different projects undertaken by GSMC, the financial compliance of grants, fee structure set up for the different programmes, and other responsibilities.
He is a trained accountant with a Master of Commerce degree from Strathmore University. He has over eight years’ experience in graduate school financial management in the region with a passion for using education to empower the people of Africa.
Augustine 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.
Technical Operations Manager
Marion Njoki is the Technical Operations Manager at the AKU Graduate School of Media and Communications (GSMC). She has a wide experience in the Telecommunications and broadcast engineering field in Kenya.
Ms. Njoki was the Head of Technical Services at Mediamax between 2008 till 2014 after which she joined Ebru TV from 2014 till 2016. During her career she has been involved in the setting up of TV and Radio studio and transmissions for other stations such as K24TV, Ebru TV, Kameme FM, Milele FM, Meru FM and Mayian FM.
Marion has also worked as a consultant engineer with other international TV Studio System Integrators to install equipment at Kenya’s NTV, KTN and Malawi’s Times Television.
She is also a member of “Audio Visual Gadgets”, a Telecommunications and Electronics Engineers organization that is involved in resolving broadcast technological problems affecting those in the field.
Marion 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.
Marietta Musyoka is a Project Officer at Aga Khan University – Graduate School of Media and Communications (AKU-GSMC). In this position, she primarily manages the accounting and logistical requirements of Giving Nature a Voice (GNV) filmmakers (often in different parts of the Kenya and other countries) which is housed in the Environmental Reporting programme of the school.
Additionally, Marietta facilitates the outreach programmes and advocacy campaigns of GNV. She also supports the building of partnerships between GSMC and its stakeholders.
Ms. Musyoka has a MA in Project Planning and Management (Catholic University of Eastern Africa) and Certificate in Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) from Strathmore University. Her undergraduate is a BA in Leadership and Management (St. Paul’s University). She also has Diplomas in Social work & Counseling as well as Secretarial Studies & Office Management.
She is a monthly Environmental columnist in “The Catholic Mirror”, a monthly magazine for the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Sanday is an administrative assistant at AKU Graduate School of Media and Communications (GSMC). In this capacity she supports the executive and administrative teams. She is a graduate in Business Administration at Graffins College and has over 10 years’ experience in this field.