Nairobi, Kenya
August 18 – 22, 2023

WMI is excited to announce the Dream Big Conference 2023 will be hosted in Nairobi, Kenya, from Friday, August 18 – Tuesday, August 22 at the United States International University – Africa campus with 250 WMI scholars from around the globe in attendance.

Attendees will participate in a packed conference schedule with:

  • Motivational and inspiring keynote speakers
  • Exciting and empowering panel discussions
  • Engaging workshops with industry experts
  • Group community service projects throughout Nairobi
  • Evening entertainment hosted by WMI Fellowships
  • Networking events with WMI Scholars based upon academic/professional focuses

Collaboration, community and leadership are core to the WMI Scholar’s Journey and it is in that spirit that the first Dream Big Conference took place in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2015 and the second in Kampala, Uganda, in 2018. The global COVID-19 pandemic halted the opportunity to bring WMI Scholars together, until now!

It’s time to Dream. Plan. Do.

Dream Big Conference Schedule

Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5
MorningShuttle buses arrive from airportOptional: Sunrise yogaBreakfastOptional: Sunrise group morning walkBreakfast
BreakfastAll Faith Service or Free TimeBreakfastPanel Discussion 2
Check-inPanel Discussion 1Tea breakWorkshop Session 5Tea break
Tea breakWorkshop Session 3Tea breakClosing ceremony
Workshop Session 1Workshop Session 6
AfternoonLunchLunchLunchLunchLunch
Team Building or Free TimeWorkshop Session 2Workshop Session 4Community serviceRoom check-out
Tea breakTeam buildingTea break
Welcome Ceremony & Team BuildingMedical Scholar Meet & GreetGroup photoBuses depart for airport
Tea breakKeynote speaker
EveningDinnerWMI 101 – Leadership Opportunities & MoreDinnerDinner
Welcome AddressSpeed Pitching Event
Keynote speakerAnnouncementsAnnouncements
AnnouncementsDinner
Fellowship: Evening entertainmentAnnouncementsFellowship: Evening entertainmentFellowship: Evening entertainment
Fellowship: Evening entertainment

All WMI Scholars in good standing are eligible to register. If you are interested in attending the Dream Big Conference, you must review the full webpage prior to registering.

Attendance is limited to 250 WMI Scholars. The first 250 qualified registrations received will be given priority for these spots. Once 250 registrations have been received, a waiting list will begin and WMI will update those on the list when space becomes available.

Please note, the Dream Big Conference is not a public event. Only current WMI Student Scholars and Graduate Scholars are eligible to apply and only those granted a registration spot are invited to attend.

Continue reading to learn about important details regarding participation at the Dream Big Conference and prepare to submit your registration form!

The invitation to register for the Dream Big Conference 2023 is open only to WMI Scholars in good standing.

Who is a WMI Student Scholar in good standing?

  • Currently enrolled in university courses
  • Has submitted the January 2023 WMI Academic Report
  • Has submitted the January 2023 WMI Community Service Report
  • Is not on academic probation or scholarship probation
  • Is not involved in a current or on-going Scholar Review Board case
  • Note: Members of the newly announced WMI Scholarship Class of 2023 will not qualify to attend the Dream Big Conference in 2023. We look forward to welcoming you in 2026!
If you are unsure if you are a student scholar in good standing contact lisa@wellsmountain.com.
 
Who is a WMI Graduate Scholar in good standing?
  • Has submitted the WMI Graduate Scholar Annual Survey 2022 (available in English, Spanish and French)
  • Is not involved in a current or on-going Scholar Review Board case
If you are unsure if you are a graduate scholar in good standing contact nicole@wellsmountain.com.

Important Registration Dates

Registration Form openMarch 1 – 31, 2023
Confirmation of conference registration sent via email to 250 scholarsApril 7, 2023
Conference registration waitlist announcedApril 7, 2023
Travel Information Form openApril 7 – June 16, 2023
Sending of travel stipendsApril 7 – rolling basis
Final deadline for submitting Travel Information FormJune 16, 2023
Notification of moving off the waitlistRolling Basis

Those who move off the waitlist will have two weeks to confirm their attendance at the conference and submit the Travel Information Form with proof of funds available.
 

If you are no longer able to commit 100% to attending the conference, please notify dbc_registration@wellsmountaininitiative.org as soon as possible.

Travel stipends are available to support WMI Student Scholars’ attendance.

Travel stipends are designed to assist with covering a portion of the transportation expense to attend the conference. A travel stipend may not cover the full cost of round-trip transportation and thus it is the scholar’s responsibility to plan in advance and fundraise to raise the difference.

Student Scholars: All Student Scholars are eligible to receive a travel stipend, based upon distance to be travelled. The travel stipend amount has been designed to assist with paying for transportation (not accommodation and meals). The stipend may not cover the full cost of transportation and participants will be expected to fundraise or save to make up the difference. 

Note: Your WMI scholar status for the purpose of qualifying for a travel stipend will be determined as of March 1, 2023. For example, if you complete your final exams on May 31, 2023, you will still be eligible for a student scholar travel stipend for the conference because as of March 1, 2023 when registration opened for the conference you were still a WMI Student Scholar.

The following travel stipends will be provided (if needed) to student scholars, based upon round-trip travel distance: 

  • 100 km or less: Up to $25 USD
  • 101 – 499 kilometers or less: Up to $50 USD
  • 500 – 999 kilometers: Up to $75 USD
  • 1000 – 3999 kilometers: Up to $300 USD
  • 4000+ kilometers: $600 – 1000 USD depending upon country (to be determined by WMI Staff)

Note: As a WMI Student Scholar you are encouraged to indicate if you will not need a travel stipend within the registration form, thus providing the opportunity for these funds to support another scholar with greater financial need.

Graduate Scholars: WMI understands that everyone’s economic situations are different. Priority has been given to student scholars who are enrolled in university full-time and do not have the ability to seek full-time employment. WMI Graduate Scholars who are committed to attending the conference but would not be able to without the support of a travel stipend may make a detailed request within the registration form. Personal circumstances will be reviewed. However, travel stipends are not guaranteed for graduate students.

Sending of Travel Stipends: WMI will begin authorizing and sending travel stipends to WMI Scholars whose registration has been confirmed and whose Travel Information Form has been submitted with all required documents as follows:
 
Air travel: Beginning on April 7, 2023
Bus travel: Closer to the date of the conference
 
Note: WMI Scholars are encouraged to purchase their airline tickets as soon as possible, as fares tend to increase as the date of departure nears.
 
 

Planning for an international trip requires advance preparation and attention to detail. Participants of the Dream Big Conference 2023 will require different documents to enter Kenya. Pay close attention to the details provided regarding passports, government-issued photo IDs, visas and vaccinations (COVID-19 and Yellow Fever).

Passports & Government-Issued Photo IDs

Travelers entering Kenya will be required to show proof of a valid government-issued photo ID. For some nations in East Africa, citizens can enter Kenya with a government-issued photo ID. All other citizens require a valid passport to enter.

As a citizen in East Africa in the nations of Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, or Uganda it will be your responsibility to have proper travel documents in order to cross the border into Kenya. This will require that you verify current requirements in advance. In addition but not limited to having a valid travel document, you must also follow all regulations related to proof of yellow fever vaccination and COVID-19 vaccination/testing requirements. 

Passports should be valid until at least March 2024 (six months after your entry into Kenya).

If you are required to have a passport to enter Kenya and you currently do not have a passport or it will expire before March 2024, you may not have time to apply and be issued this document. Check with the government agency in your nation responsible for passport issuance to learn of the current application timeline.

The processing time for issuing a new passport varies by country. The costs associated with applying for a passport is a personal expense.

Tourist Visa
As a guest in another nation, you must have legal permission to enter. WMI Scholars will fall into two categories:

  • Those needing a tourist visa
  • Those who are exempt and will not need a visa

WMI will be processing all Kenya Single Entry Visa – Tourism applications and payments online for confirmed registered attendees. The visa process will not begin until proof of travel tickets have been provided.

Individuals with citizenship and documents from the following countries do not need a visa to enter Kenya:

  • Botswana
  • Burundi
  • Fiji Island
  • Ghana
  • Jamaica
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mauritius
  • Namibia
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Rwanda
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Africa
  • Swaziland
  • Tanzania
  • The Gambia
  • Uganda
  • Vanuatu
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

If your nation was not listed above, you will need a Kenya Single Entry Visa – Tourism. More information will be provided to those who are required to obtain a Kenya Single Entry Visa – Tourism at a later date.
 
All participants will receive a formal Dream Big Conference 2023 invitation letter to support their entrance into the nation.
 
COVID-19 Travel Requirements: Vaccines and Testing Options
In response to COVID-19 the Government of Kenya has implemented the following rules related to general travel requirements effective September 9, 2022. All WMI Scholars registering to attend the Dream Big Conference must personally comply with the government’s requirements for entry into Kenya. Expenses associated with COVID-19 vaccination(s) and potential testing are the responsibilities of conference attendees.
 
  1. All travelers above the age of 12 years arriving into the country through any point of entry will be required to show proof of either COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test conducted not more than 72 hours before departure. NB: Vaccination means having received the prescribed doses of a specific vaccine latest shot at least fourteen (14) days before arrival (not including the day of vaccination).

  2. Any traveler above the age of twelve (12) arriving at any point of entry with no proof of vaccination or a PCR test or those with flu-like symptoms shall be subjected to a rapid antigen test at their own cost of 30 USD. Any person who tests positive on antigen RDT will be subjected to an entry PCR test at their own further cost of 50 USD and self-isolate as per MOH guidance on isolation.

  3.  Any traveler arriving at any port of entry into Kenya with flu-like symptoms will be required to fill out the passenger locator form on the ‘jitenge’ platform: https://ears.health.go.ke/airline_registration/ and to undergo a rapid antigen test at their own cost regardless of age or vaccination status. If positive on the antigen test they will be required to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test at their own cost.

  4. Passengers traveling out of the country will be required to abide by the particular travel, health, and COVID-19 related requirements of the transit and destination country.

  5. Pre-departure RDT or PCR testing may be considered at the discretion of any of the airlines departing from or terminating in Kenya. For more information, please visit: https://www.kcaa.or.ke/covid-19/covid-19-travel-requirements

Yellow Fever Vaccine

Risk of Yellow Fever transmission exists within Kenya and the requirement to show proof of having had the Yellow Fever vaccine may be requested when entering the nation (especially by plane).
 
For international travel, a Yellow Fever Card/Booklet can be issued at an administering clinic. Proof of your Yellow Fever Card/Booklet may be requested upon entering Kenya. If you do not have this document at the airport, you may be required to pay a high fee to have this vaccine at the arrival terminal before passing through immigration. This will be at your own expense.
 
The World Health Organization announced that as of 11 July 2016, existing and new Yellow Fever vaccination certificates are valid for life. Countries can no longer require travelers to show proof of re-vaccination or a booster dose as a condition of entry. Therefore, if you’ve had a Yellow Fever vaccination after 2016 you will not need a new one; you only need proof of the vaccination.
 
For questions regarding travel documents, contact nicole@wellsmountain.com.
100% Attendance Commitment: Registered attendees must commit to attend the full conference from check-in on Friday, August 18 to check-out on Tuesday, August 22, 2023. There are limited spaces available to attend the conference and priority will be given to those who fully commit to attend the full conference. This requires advanced planning for on-time arrival and departure that aligns with the closing ceremony.
 
WMI Scholar Family Members, Children & Friends: The invitation to register and attend the conference is for WMI Scholars only. WMI Scholars’ family members, children (including infants) and friends are not allowed to attend the conference. Uninvited persons should not be on the conference grounds, unless providing private transport to or from the event during designated arrival and departure times.
 
WMI Scholars who arrive with family members, children, infants or friends will be instructed that they must make alternative arrangements for said individuals not on the conference grounds. They cannot be on campus, attend sessions/evening events/meals, etc. If this policy impacts your potential attendance, you are encouraged to attend a future Dream Big Conference. 
 
Speak up! No Longer Able to Attend: If you are no longer able to attend the conference after you submitted your registration form and/or travel information form, please immediately notify dbc_registration@wellsmountaininitiative.org. In sharing this information early, you are enabling another WMI Scholar to attend and start their own fundraising. 
 
Missed Flights or Buses: WMI is not responsible for WMI Scholars missing scheduled flights/buses. All attendees must prepare in advance and should arrive at their international departure airports or bus terminals 3+ hours prior to departure. If a flight/bus is missed, the change/rebooking fee will be the responsibility of the scholar. If a missed flight/bus results in the scholar not attending the conference, any travel stipend must be returned.
 
No-shows: If you are registered to attend the conference and do not arrive for the start of the conference on Friday, August 18, 2023, you will be considered a no-show. This circumstance should be avoided at all costs. If you had received a stipend, you will be required to return the full stipend to WMI by August 31, 2023.  Individuals who are no-shows for the Dream Big Conference 2023 will not have first access to register for future conferences; they will be automatically placed on a waitlist.
 

Return of Travel Stipends: If you are no longer able to attend and you received a travel stipend, you are required to return the full stipend to WMI by August 31, 2023. Review the travel stipend policy in the Travel Stipends section.

If for any reason you believe you will no longer be able to attend, write to dbc_registration@wellsmountaininitiative.org as soon as possible.
The Dream Big Conference 2023 will be hosted at the United States International University – Africa campus in Nairobi, Kenya. Located in the Roysambu neighborhood, in the Kasarani suburb of Nairobi, the campus is known for its serene beauty and well developed infrastructure. 
 
During the conference, we will be using many classrooms, computer labs, the auditorium, dining facilities and on-campus dormitories. Campus has lots of green outdoor recreation space and is a gated property with 24/7 security. 
 
USIU-Africa Campus Address: Off USIU Road Off Thika Road (Exit 7)
 

 

Accommodations
All registered participants will have guaranteed accommodation on campus in student dormitories. Accommodation will be provided for four nights in shared rooms (two participants of the same gender per room, single beds for both) with common bathrooms divided by gender in each building. Room assignments will be made by WMI prior to the conference.

Meals
Meals of local fare will be catered on-site and built into the conference schedule at set mealtimes. The following meals will be provided throughout the conference:

  • Friday, August 18: Lunch, afternoon tea, dinner
  • Saturday, August 19 – Monday, August 21: Breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner
  • Tuesday, August 22: Breakfast, morning tea, lunch

Once your registration has been confirmed, you should begin planning for your travel arrangements. 

If traveling by plane, ticket prices vary considerably throughout the year and you should research when the best time to buy the tickets will be. WMI highly suggests networking with other WMI Scholars within your nation and the region to arrange transportation. 

Traveling as a Group
It is suggested for scholars to travel in groups. If you live in a nation or a region with other scholars, consider the benefits of planning your trip to Kenya together:

  • Negotiate a discounted group rate for your transportation needs
  • Ensure making flight/bus connections and handling logistics
  • Security in numbers
  • Time passes faster when having fun
  • Start forming bonds and networking before you reach Kenya

Arrival Date & Time – Friday, August 18, 2023
Participants should plan to arrive in Nairobi by 3pm EAT on Friday, August 18. 

There will be scheduled complimentary busses providing transportation from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to the conference venue at specific times on Friday, August 18. 

Keep in mind the following travel distances to and from campus:

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport: 30km plus notorious heavy traffic in Nairobi

Bus terminals are predominantly located in the city center: 14km plus notorious heavy traffic in Nairobi

  • Ena Coach (domestic bus routes): KPCU Building, Along Haile Selassie Avenue, Nairobi
  • Dar Lux Buses (Tanzania to Kenya): Veew Plaza, Opposite KCB Bank, River Road, Nairobi
  • Mash Poa (Uganda to Kenya): Accra Road, Nairobi
  • Modern Coast (From Uganda and Rwanda to Kenya): River Road, Nairobi
  • Mash Poa (Rwanda to Kenya): Accra Road, Nairobi

Departure Date & Time – Tuesday, August 22, 2023
Participants should plan their departure travel arrangements based upon the conference ending at 12pm EAT on Tuesday, August 22.

There will be scheduled buses departing from the conference venue to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 3pm. Departure flights should not be scheduled before 7pm EAT on Tuesday, August 22.

Early Arrivals & Extending Your Stay
Participants are welcome to travel to Kenya prior to the start of the conference and stay later for personal tourism at their own expense. The WMI Kenya Fellowship will be providing a list of affordable accommodations and suggested sites to visit. If you would like to arrive prior to the conference or extend your stay, this is information you must declare in your Travel Information Form, as it may impact your visa dates.

Current Valid Travel Documents
WMI Scholars traveling from outside of Kenya must have valid travel documents at the time of conference registration. You will be required to upload a photo or .pdf of your passport or national ID that must be valid through March 2024. For more information see Travel Documents, Visas & Vaccines section.

 

The Dream Big Conference is a global event supported by the generosity of many conference sponsors and WMI donors. 

There is no registration fee, no attendance fee, student scholars are offered travel stipends, and all visa fees are covered by WMI. In addition to accommodation, meals and all events expenses taking place during the conference date are provided at no cost to WMI Scholars. 

There are a few expenses that may be applicable to and are the responsibility of WMI Scholars:

  • Additional expense to cover the full cost of travel
  • Transportation within Nairobi, if you do not plan to use the scheduled complimentary conference transfers
  • Accommodation, meals, transportation and tourism expenses for early arrival or late departure
  • Passport application or renewal
  • National identification card application or renewal
  • Yellow Fever vaccination and card/booklet
  • COVID-19 vaccinations, card/booklet and/or testing
  • Rebooking fees for missed busses or airplanes

Keep these expenses in mind as you plan for fundraising activities.

There are many opportunities for WMI Scholars to engage as conference leaders. Continue to check this webpage and also watch for email announcements to volunteer and apply for some of the following opportunities. 

1) Kenya Planning Committee – Scholars based in Kenya

Busy working behind the scenes and ready to welcome you to their nation is the Kenya Planning Committee. The planning committee is composed of WMI Kenya Fellowship members and fellow scholars from other nations who study in Kenya who are assigned to the following committees: 

  • Welcoming & Logistics Team
  • Evening Events & Fellowship Activities
  • Community Service
  • Speakers & Facilitators

Their hard work throughout the months leading up to the conference will be evident once participants arrive. Official sign-ups to serve on the Kenya Planning Committee will begin in March 2023.

2) Shine as a WMI Panelist

WMI Scholars are amazing. Each scholar has a story to be shared and learned from. During the Dream Big Conference 2023, we will hear from panelists who have overcome obstacles, triumphed, and are excited to share their pathways to success with you! The panel topics and application to apply to serve as a panelist will be announced in June 2023.

 

3) WMI Fellowships Present Evening Entertainment

Once conference sessions and key note presentations have ended for the day, we shift our attention to evening entertainment at the Dream Big Conference! WMI Fellowship groups are encouraged to submit proposals to be the hosts of evening entertainment. We look forward to creative, engaging and high-energy evenings! A call for proposals will be made in May 2023. 

Continue to check this web page and the WMI Student Scholars & Graduate Scholars Facebook group for updates. More information will be provided with instructions related to obtaining a visa, travel tips, the arrival process in Kenya, traveling to the conference venue, the announcement of sessions, workshop presenters, panelists, keynote speakers and much more.

Important Conference Details:
  • Online registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis
  • 250 total participants (Student Scholars & Graduate Scholars)
  • WMI Founders, Staff and Board Members to attend
  • Travel stipends are available for WMI Student Scholars
  • Required visa fees sponsored by WMI
  • Accommodation for four nights in shared rooms (two participants of the same gender per room, single beds for both, common bathrooms) sponsored and assigned by WMI
  • All meals and conference events sponsored by WMI
  • Scheduled group transportation from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to USIU-Africa’s campus will be provided at set times.

Important Registration Dates

Registration Form openMarch 1 – 31, 2023
Confirmation of conference registration sent via email to 250 scholarsApril 7, 2023
Conference registration waitlist announcedApril 7, 2023
Travel Information Form openApril 7 – June 16, 2023
Sending of travel stipendsApril 7 – rolling basis
Final deadline for submitting Travel Information FormJune 16, 2023
Notification of moving off the waitlistRolling Basis

The following information will be required as part of the conference registration form:
  • Confirmation of conference attendance dates
  • Travel plans (researched plans – tickets should not be purchased at the time of submitting the registration form):
    • Mode of transportation
    • Distance to travel 
    • Date of arrival
    • Date of departure
    • Round trip transportation cost
    • Seeking a travel stipend (student scholars)
    • Seeking consideration for a partial travel stipend (graduate scholars)
    • Fundraising plans
  • Copy of valid passport or national ID
  • Confirmation that you understand the Yellow Fever vaccination entrance requirements for Kenya
  •  Confirmation that you understand the COVID-19 entrance requirements for Kenya
  • Professional headshot photo for the conference booklet
  • T-shirt size
  • Dietary restrictions
The following information will be required as part of the Travel Information Form:
  • Proposed travel ticket to be purchased or copy of purchased ticket to include company name (airline or bus), dates and times of departure and return and total cost.
  • Official arrival date and time at conference venue
  • Official departure date and time from conference venue
  • Indication if you will use the complimentary bus transfer from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
  • For all student scholars to receive a travel stipend: Proof of funds available to purchase travel tickets (mobile money screenshot, screenshot/pdf of bank statement balance, etc.)
  • Statement of Agreement for Travel Stipend Policy
  • Sending of funds information
Sending of Travel Stipends
WMI will begin authorizing and sending travel stipends to WMI Scholars whose registration has been confirmed and whose Travel Information Form has been submitted with all required documents as follows:
 
Air travel: Beginning on April 7, 2023
Bus travel: Closer to the date of the conference
 
Note: WMI Scholars are encouraged to purchase their airline tickets as soon as possible, as fares tend to increase as the date of departure nears.
Return of Travel Stipends:
If you are no longer able to attend and you received a travel stipend, you are required to return the full stipend to WMI by August 31, 2023. The following policies will be implemented based upon scholar status. Failure to follow these policies may result in termination from the organization.
 
Continuing student scholars: If you receive a travel stipend and do not attend, the amount of the travel stipend will be deducted from your next scholarship installment.
 
Student scholars who will not receive another scholarship installment: If you receive a travel stipend and do not attend, you are required to return the full amount to WMI by August 31, 2023. The return of travel stipends can be made via a bank transfer to our bank account in Kenya or an international bank transfer to our U.S. bank account. Failure to return the travel stipend may result in termination from WMI and/or no longer being eligible for future programs/benefits.
 
Graduate scholars: If you receive a travel stipend and do not attend, you are required to return the full amount to WMI by August 31, 2023. The return of travel stipends can be made via a bank transfer to our bank account in Kenya or an international bank transfer to our U.S. bank account. Failure to return the travel stipend may result in termination from WMI and/or no longer being eligible for future programs/benefits.

To learn more about this event, please email:

Nicole Schmitz
Director of Global Operations
nicole@wellsmountaininitiative.org

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