Buffalo Butiama Sister City

Butiama traditional dance.

Explore cultural and historic sites in Butiama Tanzania as we lay a foundation for exchange and collaboration through a new Sister City relationship

Project context

In summer 2023 officials from Buffalo New York and Butiama in Mara Tanzania signed an official Sister City Agreement, establishing a formal relationship and a foundation for growth and collaboration

This agreement builds on twenty-five years of friendship and collaboration between members who have connected in pursuit of educational access, community innovation, and sustainable development.

Since 2009, UB faculty, students and staff have engaged with partners in Mara Tanzania around sustainable development and Experiential Learning. In 2009, the first group of UB leaders visited Tanzania to explore opportunities for collaboration (see photo above). Since 2015, annual study abroad classes have traveled to engage with community partners and explore development while making meaningful contributions.

Through formalizing a Sister City relationship, Buffalo and Butiama seek to create further opportunities for synergistic exchange including: 

  • Mutual visits by the citizens of both cities and regions 
  • Promotion of tourism highlighting architecture, history, arts and culture, natural resources, and other areas of mutual interest 
  • Encouragement of academic exchange with a continued focus on Experiential Learning, study abroad, virtual projects, and digital badges 
  • Collaboration on technology and innovation focused on sustainability, construction, and international trade 
  • Development of grants and collaborative endeavors that build capacity for strategic goals and interests 

Students are invited to explore Butiama and connect with local leaders and community members, helping to establish a foundation for ongoing collaboration and engagement.

Project opportunities

Students will select from featured historical, heritage and cultural sites within Butiama to research and document via StoryMaps. Engagement will include an informal conversation/interview with local leaders and community members.

Butiama is the birthplace of Julius Nyerere, the founding father and the first president of Tanzania. Butiama is also the homeland of the Zanaki people, of which the founding father was a member. The Mwalimu Nyerere Museum Centre is located in the town and is the town biggest attraction.

In addition to Butiama, students will have opportunities to research and explore communities and heritage sites in the surrounding Lake Region including the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and Lake Victoria.

All projects will be highlight connections with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Sustainable Development Experiential Learning (SDEL). 

Traditional storage tank.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment 8 - 12 weeks
Start time Fall, Spring, Summer
Level of collaboration Variable
Benefits Digital Badge, Experience, Letter of Recommendation
Who is eligible All SUNY undergraduates

Core partners

Buffalo Butiama Sister City Committee

Project mentor

Mara Huber

Associate Dean, Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning; Director, Experiential Learning Network

127 Capen Hall

Phone: (716) 829-2834

Email: mbhuber@buffalo.edu

SUNY SDG Project Challenge

This project is for students interested in the SUNY SDG Project Challenge.

Express Interest

  1. Email ELN with letter of interest at mbhuber@buffalo.edu to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to send this email)
  2. After you send your email expressing your interest, click the button to schedule a meeting to discuss the project. (Please be sure to include your letter of interest when scheduling the event)