Obama foundation nixes Kenya university’s bid for ‘institute’
By LYNN SWEET Washington Bureau Chief June 29, 2014 9:14PM
** FILE **Sen. Barack Obama meets his grandmother Sarah Hussein Obama at his father's house in Nyongoma Kogelo village, western Kenya, in this Aug. 26, 2006, file photo. Obama, who he barely knew his Kenyan-born father and has visited Kogelo only a few times, received a hero's welcome, and for many Kenyans living in the U.S. is one of their own, a true son of Kenya, and a cause for national pride. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
Updated: August 1, 2014 6:26AM
WASHINGTON — When the bidding process for the Obama library and museum started, Barack Obama Foundation chair Marty Nesbitt said he wanted to cast a wide net for ideas and proposals.
With that open invitation, a university in Kenya — the birthplace of Barack Obama’s father and where a half-sister, Auma, lives — submitted to the foundation a detailed pitch to create the Barack Obama Institute for Peace and Democracy Studies based in Nairobi.
The United States International University-Africa, an offshoot of a university in San Diego, sent its proposal to the Chicago-based foundation by the June 16 deadline for bids. The Kenya school is asking the Obama foundation to support and endorse “strong linkages” with whoever wins the competition to be the host for the Obama library in order help build the institute.
The foundation, however, will not be getting involved in this Kenyan effort.
“Their submission was not responsive to the guidelines and is not under consideration,” a foundation spokesman said.
The Kenyan bid said the institute would “introduce the U.S. presidential papers on African soil, help bolster the ‘Obama tourism circuit’ ” in Kenya and tell the story of Obama’s Kenyan side of the family.
It’s a small world at times: A member of the university team working on the institute plan is, according to the bid, Deloris Jordan, mother of the former Bulls star Michael Jordan. According to the bid, she is spearheading the building of a health center in Kenya for women and children.
On June 17, the foundation said there were 13 responses to its initial bid document, the “Request for Qualifications.” The Kenyan submission was one of the 13, the foundation spokesman said. In the coming months, the foundation will announce a short list culled from the 12 other bidders and ask them to respond to a “Request for Proposals.”