SUNY Cobleskill Welcomes Carolina for Kibera Co-Founder Rye Barcott

October 3, 2011

SUNY Cobleskill will host a presentation and book signing by former Marine Corps Officer Rye Barcott on Thursday, Oct. 13, from 2 – 4 p.m., in the College's Bouck Hall theater. The presentation "It Happened On the Way to War" is free and open to the public and explores the failures and triumphs of waging peace while fighting war.


Barcott is the author of It Happened On the Way to War, a true story of sacrifice and courage and the powerful melding of military and humanitarian service. After serving in the Marines, Barcott earned master's degrees in business and public administration from Harvard University, where he was a Reynolds Social Entrepreneurship Fellow. In 2009, he joined the inaugural class of TED Fellows, and was recently named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. He currently lives in North Carolina and works in the Sustainability Office at Duke Energy.


In 2000, as a 20-year-old college student heading to the Marines, Barcott sought to understand the ethnic violence that had convulsed Africa and might one day confront him in uniform.


While in Kibera, one of the world's largest slums, he stumbled into friendship with a widowed nurse, Tabitha Atieno Festo, and a tough community organizer, Salim Mohamed. Together they co-founded Carolina for Kibera (CFK) and became pioneers in participatory development. Barcott continued his leadership in CFK while serving in Bosnia, the Horn of Africa, and Iraq. Struggling with the stress of leading Marines in dangerous places, he took lessons from CFK's approach to social entrepreneurship and became a more effective counter-insurgent and peacekeeper.


Established in 2001, Carolina for Kibera is an international, non-governmental organized based in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya. Run by Kenyans and advised by American and Kenyan volunteers, CFK promotes leadership development and poverty alleviation through a network of programs advancing health, ethnic cooperation, gender equality and economic empowerment.


CFK has been named a Time magazine and Gates Foundation "Hero of Global Health" and has worked with several organizations to teach its model of participatory development. CFK uses an innovative community-based leadership model to create opportunities for change, directly reaching 55,000 residents of Kibera each year. CFK includes more than 60 full- and part-time members in Kenya, and one full-time staff member in the United States.


For more information, contact SUNY Cobleskill's Office of International Education at 518-255-5556 or e-mail

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