Nairobi News

LifeWhat's Hot

Kenyan Prof named among ‘most reputable people on earth’

A Kenyan professor working in the United States has been named among the most reputable people in the world.

Prof Calestous Juma, who teaches at Harvard University, is the only Kenyan to be listed in the inaugural list of “2017 Most Reputable People on Earth”.

The list was compiled by South African consulting company Reputation Polls and consists of 100 individuals who have “amassed high reputation for themselves through the works they have been engaged in”.

The list, which was compiled through a partnership with the Institute of Leadership and Management, features personalities drawn from various backgrounds such as business, entertainment, education, and policy.

Prof Juma features alongside luminaries such as Bill Gates, Barack and Michelle Obama and the Pope. Other noteworthy personalities include Evangelist Billy Graham and activists Malala Yousafzai, the oldest and youngest people in the list.

Also selected are football star Cristiano Ronaldo, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, TV host Trevor Noah, actor Denzel Washington, Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu and United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres.

This is not the first time that Prof Juma has been picked for honours. He has been listed among the most influential 100 Africans in 2012, 2013 and 2014 by the New African magazine.


Prof Juma is a man of sterling reputation in the field of application of science, technology and innovation to sustainable development in developing and developed countries.

He began his career as a science teacher in Mombasa between 1974 and 1978 and later became the first science and environment journalist in the Daily Nation between 1978 and 1979, before starting his own magazine, Ecoforum.

It was during his brief stint at the Nation that environmental issues were prominently covered by Kenyan media. He later worked as an editor and researcher at the Environment Liaison Centre in Nairobi between 1979 and 1982.

The scientist who attained a teacher’s certificate from Egoji Teacher’s College in 1974, also holds a PhD in Science Policy Research from the University of Sussex.

Currently, he teaches graduate courses on science, technology and development policy and biotechnology at Harvard University.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda was the only serving African leader who made it to the list. Although he has been criticised for authoritarian tendencies, President Kagame has generally won global praise for steering Rwanda out of the genocide in 1994 to become one of Africa’s most prosperous nations.

The list has representation from 37 countries. Statistically, the US has the largest share of personalities at 39, with a representation of 25 females, three couples and 72 males.