Media Contacts

Office of Media Relations
2100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
4th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20052

Phone: 202-994-6460
Fax: 202-994-9025
E-mail: [email protected]


The George Washington University Signs Letter of Intent with the National Museums of Kenya to Operate the Koobi Fora Field School in Kenya

November 12, 2012

Latarsha Gatlin
202-994-5631; [email protected]
Michelle Sherrard
202-994-1423; [email protected]

WASHINGTON— George Washington University President Steven Knapp and the National Museums of Kenya  this week signed a letter of intent to begin collaborations to operate the Koobi Fora Field School in Kenya.

The National Museums of Kenya and George Washington’s Center for the Advanced Study of Hominin Paleobiology are making the first steps toward working together on this venture with the intention of providing a unique research opportunity for students and faculty to explore Africa and search for evidence of hominins in one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world.

“This new relationship with the National Museums of Kenya represents a ground-breaking opportunity for our students, the Anthropology Department, and GW as a whole,” said Assistant Professor of Anthropology David Braun.

Dr. Braun is the lead representative for the program and is also the co-director of the Anthropology Department’s Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology.

The Koobi Fora Field School is considered one of the premier international paleoanthropology training operations. The school is designed to introduce students to the science of paleoanthropology, a sub-discipline of anthropology focused on the study of human origins. 

Some of the research projects students could participate in are: studying fossilized footprints from 1.6 million years ago; finding evidence of human scavenging and hunting two million years ago; exploring evidence of climate change and animal communities over the last four million years and discovering the changes associated with the appearance of domesticated animals in East Africa.

“Paleoanthropology science is a less well understood subject in most African institutions and the opportunity for local students to attend the Koobi Fora Field School program through the GW and NMK partnership will raise the bar of excellence in this field of study for these students,” said Purity Kiura, lead representative of the Koobi Fora Field School. “In addition, the interaction of these local students with their international peers will broaden and enhance their working relationships.”

Other collaborators on this project include faculty members from the University of Witwatersrand, University of Cape Town, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Rutgers University, Coastal Carolina University and the Smithsonian Institution.


In the heart of the nation's capital with additional programs in Virginia, the George Washington University was created by an Act of Congress in 1821. Today, GW is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia. The university offers comprehensive programs of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts study, as well as degree programs in medicine, public health, law, engineering, education, business and international affairs. Each year, GW enrolls a diverse population of undergraduate, graduate and professional students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 130 countries.

- GW -