Ms. Khadijah Robinson of Covington & Burling law firm with Ashinaga USA scholars and staff.

Khadijah Robinson Visits Orientation Camp 2016!

August 16, 2016 — During Ashinaga USA’s 2016 Orientation Camp, scholars and staff had an opportunity to meet with Ms. Khadijah Robinson, an associate at Covington & Burling law firm in downtown Washington, DC. Covington & Burling is also home to one of Ashinaga’s prominent Kenjin-Tatsujin Advisory Council members, Dr. Witney Schneidman, who is the firm’s Senior International Advisor for Africa. In a concerted effort to increase its network and business opportunities in Africa, Covington & Burling brought Dr. Schneidman on board to lead the firm’s Africa practice with his 40+ years of experience working with Sub-Saharan Africa. Covington & Burling’s investment in Africa is underpinned by a belief — shared by Ashinaga — that Africa is a region of great opportunity and importance.

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Ms. Robinson giving encouraging advice and sharing stories from her college experience.

Ms. Robinson offered an inspiring example of an accomplished young professional with a poised, engaging, and gracious demeanor. She graduated magna cum laude from Spelman and earned her J.D. from Harvard. Given that she is not far removed from college herself, she was able to share relevant advice with the scholars about how to maximize their college experience by encouraging them to maintain a balance between social life and studying — academics always come first, but the social experiences and opportunities in college are also an important and enjoyable part of the journey.

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Engaging discussions with Ms. Robinson and the scholars and staff of Ashinaga USA.

Ms. Robinson and the group engaged in discussions about several hot-button issues affecting Africa today. She recently wrote a research a paper on the new “e-passport,” which is an Africa Union initiative aimed at facilitating movement within the continent. A discussion about immigration ensued, and Jenipher Mpondela, a rising freshman at the University of Michigan, suggested that easier movement on the African continent might hurt less-developed nations if their people emigrate to more developed nations. Ms. Robinson also asked the scholars for their opinions on a paper she is writing about how a Trump presidency would affect the U.S.’s trade, aid, and immigration policies towards African nations. Joseph Ssengendo, a junior at Villanova University, responded by saying if aid is cut the healthcare industry in Uganda would suffer. Hilda Nalwanga, a junior at Smith College, agreed but was not sure that a temporary lack of funding would be a bad thing for Uganda in the long-run.

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Ms. Robinson giving a tour of Covington & Burling’s rooftop overlooking downtown Washington, DC.

After the talk, Ms. Robinson gave Ashinaga USA scholars and staff a tour of the roof, where a beautifully-decorated patio allowed for amazing views of the city. Ashinaga USA is grateful to Ms. Robinson and Covington & Burling for taking the time to meet with Ashinaga scholars and staff.