BIEA Kenya, Board

Prof Catherine Ndungo


Prof Catherine Ndungo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Kiswahili at Kenyatta University. She holds a PhD in African Oral Literature. Her thesis was on” The Images of Women in African Oral literature with special focus on Kiswahili and Kikuyu Proverbs. She also holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and African Languages.  At this level, she wrote a thesis on” The Historical Change in the Portrayal of Women in Different Historical Periods. Prof. Catherine Ndungo was formally the Associate Dean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Previously she was the Director, Institute of African Studies. She was the founder Chairperson of the Department of Gender and Development Studies. She has published widely in her area of Scholarship. She is also a member of many professional bodies such as Association of African Women for Research and Development, Organization for Social Science Research for Eastern Africa among others. She is the Chairperson of British Institute of East Africa  

Sir Jeffrey James kbe cmg

Kenya Board Vice Chair

Sir Jeffrey James was the British High Commissioner to Kenya from mid-1997 to the end of 2001. As a career diplomat, he also served in South Africa in 1986-88, with other overseas postings in Afghanistan, India and Iran.

Since his retirement in 2001, he has maintained a keen interest in Kenya and East Africa more generally and has been a frequent visitor to Nairobi. He joined the Governing Council of the BIEA in London in 2012 and was nominated by the Council to become the first Treasurer of BIEA Kenya. He was on the Governing Council of Keele University for eight years which introduced him to the importance of the contemporary research agenda. He is also a Director of the Eastern Africa Association which represents investors in the region.

Dr Damaris Parsitau


Dr. Damaris Parsitau is the Country Director of the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA), Kenya where she serves as the CEO, directing research programmes, managing the day to day operations of the institute and providing leadership to staff and researchers of the BIEA.

Dr. Parsitau also serves as the President of the African Association for the Study of Religion (AASR). She is also a Reader and Senior Lecturer of Religion and Gender Studies at Egerton University in Kenya. She holds a Ph.D Degree in Religion and Gender from Kenyatta University, an MA in Religious Studies from the University of Nairobi and a BA in History and Religious Studies (major) and a (minor) in Sociology from Egerton University in Kenya.

Dr Parsitau has over 25 years of experience in the field of education, research and evidence-based policy research through her work as a lecturer, career educationist, teacher, leadership coach, mentor, social justice educator and gender equality advocate. She has also conducted numerous research projects and published over 70 book chapters and peer reviewed journal articles with two forthcoming monographs. She has also published over 20 opinion pieces, policy blogs and briefs in both print and digital media, all dedicated to strengthening education actors and promoting the use of evidence-based research for effective policy action and practice. Dr. Parsitau’s research and teaching interests sits at the intersections of religion, gender and sexuality, religion and women’s bodies and religion and politics among other interests.

In the last one and a half decades, Dr. Parsitau has centered her work around girls’ education, women empowerment and gender equality social justice education and rights. Here, she has served as the as director of a largely women-centered institution, the Institute of Women, Gender and Development Studies at Egerton University in Kenya. Her work has earned her recognition by Mawazo Institute and the Next Einstein Forum (NEF), in 2018, as 1 of 20 most influential scientists in Kenya. In 2021, she was also honored as a Gender Equality Champion by the National Diversity and Inclusive Awards and Recognition (DIAR Awards).

In recognition of her great professional, academic and community engagements, she was appointed Professor Extra-Ordinary at the University of South Africa (UNISA), the Institute of Gender Studies (IGS) and the Desmond Tutu Centre for Religion and Social Justice, University of Western Cape, SA respectively in 2021. She is also a former 2018-2019 visiting Research Associate at Harvard Divinity School (HDS) at the Women Studies in Religion Programme (WSRP) at Harvard University, USA. She was also a visiting Research fellow at Wolfson College, University of Cambridge UK (2007) and Edinburgh University in Scotland 2006. In 2017, Dr. Parsitau was selected for the Echidna Global Scholar Awards and is an alumni of the Brookings Institutions, in Washington DC, USA. She sits on a number of International Boards that include: The World Bicycle Relief (WBR) and Child and Maternal Health Canada as well as an active member of many editorial boards.

Professor Gabrielle lynch

Vice President for Research

Gabrielle Lynch is a Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Warwick. She is the author of over 30 articles and book chapters, and author or editor of five books, including I Say to You: Ethnic Politics and the Kalenjin in Kenya (University of Chicago Press, 2011) and Performances of Injustice: The Politics of Truth, Justice and Reconciliation in Kenya (Cambridge University Press, 2018). She is the Deputy Chair of the Review of African Political Economy, and wrote a regular column in Kenya’s Saturday Nation (2014-2018) and The East African (2015-2017). Gabrielle participated in the BIEA graduate attachment scheme in 2003, joined the BIEA Council as an elected member in 2010, and was appointed Vice President/Research in 2019. 

Professor Karuti Kanyinga

Karuti Kanyinga Research Professor of Development Studies at the Institute for Developent Studies (IDS), University of Nairobi.  He is an accomplished development researcher and scholar with extensive national and international experience. He has published extensively and is renowned for his contributions to scholarship and knowledge in governance and development. Karuti’s research and publications include seminal work on: ethnicity and development; devolution and development; and electoral politics and development. This is in addition to commissioned studies on governance, justice, law and order sector reforms. The publications include:Kanyinga, Karuti (2016). Devolution and New Politics of Development in Kenya. African Studies Review,Vol. 59, No. 3, 155-167. Kanyinga, K. 2014. Kenya: Democracy and Political Participation. A Review by AfriMap, Nairobi: Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa, and the Institute for Development Studies, 2014: Kanyinga, K and Okello, D. 2010. Tensions and Reversals in Democratic Transitions: the Kenya 2007 General Elections’.Nairobi: SID/IDS; ‘The Legacy of the White Highlands: land rights, ethnicity, and the post-2007 election violence in Kenya’ In the Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 27:3,325-344, 2009; and Kanyinga, K. 2000. Redistribution from above: The Politics of Land Rights and Squatting in Coastal Kenya. Uppsala: Nordic Africa Institute

Dr Fred Nyongesa

Dr. Ikanda is a senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Maseno University in Kenya. He received his doctorate in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge in 2014 and has published widely on refugee and forced migration issues based on his fieldwork at the Dadaab camps. His article on “Somali refugees in Kenya and social resilience” (in African Affairs) won the 2019 Taylor & Francis Commonwealth Scholars Best Journal Article Prize (BJAP) and the 2020 Stephen Ellis Prize. Dr Ikanda has served as the chairman of Sociology and Anthropology department at Maseno University and currently sits on various school and hospital boards. He is also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board at AFRICA/IAI.

Dr Jane Humphris


Dr Humphris has been Director of the BIEA since 2018, and since 2019 has also held the position of Senior Research Associate at the McDonald Institute, University of Cambridge. Her main research focuses on the ancient iron production technologies of the Kingdom of Kush. Since 2011 her team has been excavating at the Royal City of Meroe in Sudan and collaborating with teams working at other Kushite iron production locations. She employs a combination of archaeological and archaeometallurgical methods to investigate the remains, with the aim of revealing the technological nature, socio-cultural role and politico-economic impact of ancient technologies and technologists during this key period of Sudan’s history. To complement the research in Sudan, she more recently stated a new project investigating Aksumite iron production in northern Ethiopia. In addition to the academic research, her team runs a comprehensive and diverse programme of community engagement and capacity building activities in Sudan, including festivals, community meetings, media outreach and Arabic open access publications.

Professor Rosemary Okello

Rosemary Okello-Orlale is a well-recognized communication, media and gender expert, writer, editor, quantitative Data analyst who finds interest in public policy, education, making data work for public good arts, culture and creating African narrative. She has experience in academic, philanthropy, technical skills, data journalism, media, governance, civic community, management and leadership skills as well as diplomacy, advocacy, fundraising, training, communication strategy, mentorship and coaching expertise.

She has a track record of working with donor communities, multilateral organizations, media organizations, government, academia, professional bodies, development agencies, private sector, consultancy agencies, civil society, non-governmental and faith-based organizations, in a global and changing world.

Currently she is the Director of Africa Media Hub at Strathmore University Business School whose mission is to enhance access to quality, relevant, accessible, timely data, business and financial information which involves not only building skills but enhancing partnership with governments and decision-makers. She also heads the newly launched Strathmore Data Analytics Centre (SADAC) focused on driving Data analytics education, productivity, applied research, and product commercialization on data driven practices for African businesses. Previously she was a Program Officer on Civic Engagement and Government; Creativity and Free Expression and Advancing Public Service Media Initiative at the Ford Foundation Eastern African office.

She has supported efforts to promote the public media sphere as a platform to give voice and visibility to marginalized people, as well as to add diverse perspectives to everyday struggles for social change while simultaneously transforming alternative media into a critical and cohesive voice of civil society. And she also a Founder and Executive Director of African Woman and Child Feature Service- a Media NGO.