Professor of Accounting Ross Stewart's Fulbright scholarship explored the business-community development connection. Photo by Luke Rutan.
As a child, Ross Stewart heard missionary stories about Africa. He collected stamps from Africa and dreamed. His opportunity finally came this year when the Fulbright Program selected him and six other scholars to go to Kenya.
A professor of accounting, Stewart believes business plays a big role in helping societies build “resilience, economic opportunity, and human flourishing.” He saw that idea in action through social ventures, community development, and business cooperatives.
“Business is an important bridge between emergency relief and longer-term development,” says Stewart. “It can be effective when it focuses on community-based organizations. In Kenya, this is often the local church.”
Stewart worked at Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya. He felt a welcoming environment in the vibrant and “often raw” city of Nairobi. He learned more about Kenya and its importance as an economic force in the Horn of Africa. But it was the warmth of the students and faculty, their inspiring life stories, and their Christian faith that broadened Stewart’s perspective.
“The six months passed far too quickly. But for someone who always wanted to go to Africa, it was a great start,” says Stewart.
Editor's Note: This article was first published in the 2012 Autumn issue of etc magazine, Seattle Pacific University's magazine to students, which serves as a bridge between the SPU community and high school and college students. Read more etc stories at spu.edu/etc.