Brescia University is proud to welcome author William Kamkwamba to campus to speak on Thursday, October 19th at 7 pm. The event, to be held in Taylor Lecture Hall, is free and open to the public. Kamkwamba is the co-author of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope, how he achieved his dream of bringing electricity, light, and the promise of a better life to his family and his Malawi village. The book was a New York Times best-seller, and Kamkwamba’s story was featured early in the Wall Street Journal.
The book, an inspiring and remarkable success story about the power of human ingenuity in the face of crippling odds, was selected as the common read for Brescia University’s incoming freshman class as part of the First Year Experience program, an academic program designed to assist new students with their transition to college. It recalls the story of Kamkwamba’s childhood in Africa and how he used a bicycle dynamo, a pedal-powered wheel that generates light, to bring electricity and light to his family and village.
Beyond the inspirational story of one determined, courageous, and ingenious teenager, Kamkwamba’s story calls attention to the plight of Malawi, a country caught in the grip of AIDS and poverty. He shares his vision for “a new kind of Africa, a place of leaders instead of victims, a home of innovation rather than charity.” By accomplishing a remarkable feat against formidable odds, Kamkwamba serves as a leading light and beacon of hope for the young, poor, and disadvantaged in every continent. ”
Kamkwamba graduated from Dartmouth College in 2014, and was awarded a fellowship at IDEO, the global design firm based in San Francisco. With IDEO, he worked on several life changing projects, including designing an anonymous abuse reporting system that was easily accessible in public spaces by both genders and low-cost sensors for farmers that reads moisture and pH levels in soil.
After finishing his fellowship, Kamkwamba joined the Widernet Project, where he helps to make and distribute digital libraries. He is currently designing modules and instruction manuals that can be used by anyone to create low-cost, high-impact projects in communities around the world. Kamkwamba is working on multiple projects to bridge the gap between knowledge and doing with easy to follow instruction modules that range from sustainable energy production to household water sanitation.
Kamkwamba has appeared on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CSPAN Book-TV, and NPR. A 2007 TED Global Fellow, he was a student in the inaugural class of the Pan-African Leadership Academy in South Africa. He and Mealer also co-authored The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Readers Edition.
An accomplished speaker, Kamkwamba has addressed audiences at the 2008 World Economic Forum, multiple times at TED, and at schools and universities across the globe.