Kenyan Alum Running for Office
PAX/YES exchange student alumnus from Kenya - professional headshot

Interview with Alumnus James Sifuna (YES 2015/16)

It began with a quick note from Andrea (Renee) Alexander-Tyler. In it, the PAX Community Coordinator informed us that her 2015/16 student down in Texas was running for office back in his home country of Kenya while continuing his college education full time. Needless to say, that piqued our interest. In the hopes that we might re-introduce this young man to the PAX community and offer his insights to our current students, we shot him a quick note. The reply was almost instantaneous: "Sure, I would love to be featured in the next release. Thank you for reaching out! Yours faithfully, James Sifuna." The following interview ensued... 

PAX Press: James thanks so much for agreeing to share a few thoughts with the PAX community. We understand you are running for local office back home while still finishing up university. What position are you running for?

James Sifuna: I'm running to be a Member of County Assembly of Kimaeti Ward, Bungoma County. Duties involve approving county development planning, vetting and approval of nominees to county public offices, oversight over county executive, and many other roles as stated in the constitution.

PAX Press: And do you have an ultimate career goal or dream?

James Sifuna: Yes, I want to increase my professional knowledge and experience. I hope to gain new skills through college and community service programs and develop ideas of how I can contribute more to the world.

PAX Press: What are you studying? When will you finish up?

James Sifuna: I'm a Business Computer Technology student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. I'll finish up next year, in 2023.

PAX Press: We know the opportunities for YES alumni vary by country. Have you been able to remain involved with YES?

James Sifuna: Yes, I have participated in several workshops, the most recent one was on 12th March 2022, the Kenya AFS Alumni Heads strategy meeting for 2022.

PAX Press: Do you think your PAX/YES year influenced your career path? What about the personal impact of the program?

James Sifuna: Yes, career-wise now, I feel I can adapt to diverse workplaces and collaborate with people from different sectors. Personally, it made me become an active citizen, learn about the importance of volunteering, and understand various challenges facing the world.

PAX Press: Are you still in touch with folks in the U.S., like your host family, coordinator, and friends?

James Sifuna: Yes, I'm still in touch with them. We do share a lot even though we are far apart. I miss them a lot!

PAX Press: And finally, might you have a message for current PAX students trying to decide on a career path?

James Sifuna: My message to them is to understand what they enjoy and what they are good at, evaluate how creative they are, and their desire to work with people. They shouldn’t worry much if they have experience or education or how much money they might make.

Thank you! - Shukran/Asante (Swahili language) and Welcome to Kenya - Karibu Kenya!