Strengthening Intercontinental Connections: Bill Cooke Visits CFI Affiliates in Africa

February 7, 2013

In January, the Center for Inquiry’s director of international programs, Bill Cooke, journeyed to Kenya, Uganda, and Egypt to meet with CFI’s affiliates in those countries and discuss their work. The trip was very informative, as it revealed the impact these organizations are having in their countries as well as the extent of their need for support to further the cause of critical thinking and humanism. 

Here we focus on Bill’s trip to CFI–Kenya, where he spent much of his time. 

Bill Cooke in Kenya 1First on the itinerary for Bill’s five-day engagement, he met with the children involved in the CFI–Kenya program “Humanist Orphans.” This is an ambitious initiative for the education and assistance of kids and their families from all across rural Africa who have been accused of witchcraft. Bill met with teachers, students, and families, shared stories, and gave them an excellent lesson on humanism and the dangers of superstition, of which they have direct experience.

Bill later met with leaders from various community organizations on the ground in Nairobi, sharing strategies and insight on skepticism and combatting superstition. He even got to spend time engaging with the brilliant young minds of the University of Nairobi Humanists and Freethinkers, giving them a firmer grasp on the ideals of humanism.

Reporting on the visit, George Ongere, director of CFI–Kenya told us that Bill was “inspiring” and that it “instilled confidence in us,” particularly because exposure to international members of the organized global freethought community gives these local activists the opportunity to be “more prepared to defend their stance intellectually” as well as “more confidence in our activities.”

It heartens all of us at CFI to know what fantastic work is being done by George and everyone at CFI–Kenya, and that interactions that bridge national and cultural divides, like Bill Cooke’s sojourn, make this worldwide movement stronger and more closely-knit.

Bill Cooke in Kenya 2

Our thanks to George Ongere for his report and his efforts and to Bill Cooke for making this important trip. To learn more about CFI–Kenya’s recent activities, see George’s article at the Skeptical Inquirer website.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. CFI‘s web address is www.centerforinquiry.net.