Six Corning Inc. employees traveled to Rwanda in August to encourage young Africans to prepare for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Claudine Biribuze and Eric Biribuze led the Corning group at the Africa Arise and Shine conference, which was attended by thousands of people.
The Biribuzes, along with Odessa Petzold, Shandon Hart, Joel Schultes and Kenneth Hrdina, were on a mission to show how STEM can help nations transform their economies. Rwanda continues to recover from the 1994 genocide in which 1 million people were killed.
The eight-day conference included workshops, some of which were presented by the Corning representatives, focused on STEM education for those 13 to 30 years old.
The Biribuzes plan to return next year and offer more workshops. At the conclusion of the event, conference leaders established a strategic goal to create a center for research and innovation in Africa that focuses on four core areas: energy, health, agriculture and material science. A location for the center hasn’t been determined.
“This was a successful start, but we need to go back every year and create relationships and mentor the children,” Claudine Biribuze said. “We are confident that we can build on the positive energy we generated this year. The research center will be the cornerstone for delivering that transformation.”