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National Geographic Live! Lecture Series Media Advisory: Africa: A New Look


What: National Geographic Live! offers a look at the ever-changing African metropolis of Nairobi with Charles Cobb Jr., distinguished journalist and former member of National Geographic magazine’s editorial staff. For his editorial contribution to a story by Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina for the September 2005 issue of National Geographic, Cobb traveled to Nairobi with veteran photographer David Alan Harvey to discover what this rapidly growing city may reveal about Africa’s increasingly urbanized future. Founded in 1899 on the site of a Maasai water hole (the name means “cool water” in Maasai), Kenya’s capital has experienced a population growth of some 800 percent since the nation’s independence in 1963. Cobb and Harvey found today’s Nairobi a vibrant, complex city, suffering from huge disparities in wealth — but also home to a growing and educated middle class brimming with optimism under a newly elected government. Using Harvey’s photos, Cobb will offer a revealing look at the multi-ethnic mosaic of contemporary Nairobi.

The September 2005 National Geographic was a special issue exploring Africa through works and images intended to challenge preconceptions about humanity’s home continent and its people. Cobb’s presentation is the last installment in the National Geographic Live! series Africa: A New Look, one of many National Geographic programs offering a new look at Africa.

While still an undergraduate, Cobb left Howard University to serve as a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Mississippi at the height of the Civil Rights movement. He began his journalism career in 1974 as a reporter for WHUR Radio in Washington, D.C. In 1976 he joined the staff of National Public Radio as a foreign affairs reporter, bringing to that network its first regular coverage of Africa. From 1985 to 1997, Cobb was a National Geographic staff member, traveling the globe to write stories on places from Eritrea to Russia’s Kurile Islands. He is currently senior diplomatic correspondent for, the leading online source of news from and about Africa, and is the co-author, with civil rights organizer and educator Robert P. Moses, of “Radical Equations: Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project.”

Cobb will give this talk in place of David Alan Harvey, who was originally scheduled to appear at this event, but who has been called out of the country on a late-breaking assignment.

When: Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Grosvenor Auditorium, National Geographic headquarters, 1600 M Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.

Tickets: $14 for members, $17 for non-members.

Information: (202) 857-7700 and


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