In 2020 Professor Mutonya received international recognition for his use of sociolinguistic methods that focus on the interests of marginalized speech communities.
In the spring, Mungai Mutonya was awarded a 2020 Carnegie African Diaspora & International Institute of Education Fellowship to embark on a sustained and collaborative educational project with the University of Nairobi (UoN). The interdisciplinary project involves graduate training and research focusing on the intersections of language, migration, urban settlement, and identity construction among African immigrant settlements in contemporary Nairobi.
If that weren't enough, a leading online newspaper in Kenya (Kenyans.co.ke) has listed Mungai as one of the top 100 Kenyans in 2020. The list includes luminaries in the fields of politics, education, law, business, entertainment, and sports who "have made a difference...through headline-grabbing moves or silently working behind the scenes." Mutonya was recognized among "the titans of educations" for his contributions to African studies through research, teaching, publications, study abroad, and for building linkages between the United States and Kenya.