Address By the Vice-Chancellor, Acting On Behalf of The Chancellor On The Occasion of The 25th Graduation Ceremony of KIU, SATURDAY 11th June 2022
Legal Provision for the Vice-Chancellor to stand in for the Chancellor in absentia
It is provided under Article 41 (e) of the University Charter of KIU that in the absence of the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor shall preside over ceremonial assemblies and shall confer degrees and other academic titles and distinctions.
Therefore, the Chancellor, having communicated his inability to attend and exercise the mandate conferred upon him as the Chancellor and pursuant to the said clause, I will proceed and exercise the said mandate in accordance with the Charter.
The Chief Guest,
Honorable Cabinet Ministers,
Your Excellencies Ambassadors & High Commissioners
Honorable Members of Parliament,
Chairman and Members of the Board of Trustees,
Chairperson and Members of the University Council,
Vice-Chancellors and Representatives of Vice-Chancellors of Other Universities
Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Principals, Deans, Directors, HoDs, and all Members of KIU Management.
KIU Academic, Administrative and Support Staff of MC, WC
Other Specially Invited Guests,
H.E The Guild President and the Guild Union Leadership
Alumni of Kampala International University (KIU)
Continuing students of KIU;
Ladies and Gentlemen; in your various capacities;
Welcome to this great occasion
Welcome to this great University
Greetings from the leading Private University in Uganda and the 2nd overall best-ranked University in Uganda out of 55. You are warmly welcome in your various capacities to the 25th Graduation Ceremony of Kampala International University held today Saturday 11th June 2022.
It is the 1st physical graduation ceremony post-COVID-19 lockdown, in a space of two years, for which, we are indeed grateful to the Almighty God for making this possible.
Brief Profile of the Chief Guest, Prof. Mondo Kagonyera
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to do a brief introduction of our Chief guest.
He was born in 1941 in a tiny village called Kabuga in the hills that separate the rolling plains of Rukungiri District from the hilly parts of Kabale district. Born of a man called Zakaria Kagonyera and a mother called Kirihura who later on, after baptism, decided on the name Elizabeth.
The preferred field of study of our Chief Guest was mathematical subjects and with a dream to become an engineer. But fate befell him in 1961, when he came to Kampala to do an interview at the Uganda Electricity Board (UEB) to join as a technician, he was in contact with some of his relatives at Makerere, one of whom happened to be a medical student. Mondo then was fascinated by the white overcoats that the medical student wore. He said, “look what else can one be in life?” I must be a medical doctor.
Of course, it was a very big honor to be a medical doctor then; one led a reasonably good life because the salary was quite good. He, therefore, decided to study physics, biology, and chemistry instead of mathematics. He ended up in the Royal College Nairobi where he studied those three subjects, but because their results were delayed, he couldn’t enter the medical school at Mulago that year (1963).
Instead of waiting for another year to start a five-year course, he decided to do veterinary medicine, because the Faculty was willing to admit him before the results were out, so he ended up a vet.
Professor George Mondo Kagonyera was the second non-Head-of-State Chancellor of Makerere University, the first being the late Rt. Hon. Professor Apolo Robin Nsibambi, a distinguished alumnus of Makerere University and former Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda.
Professor Kagonyera was first appointed Chancellor by President Yoweri Museveni on the recommendation of the Makerere University Council. He served his second four-year term, following his re-appointment by H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the President of the Republic of Uganda.
While at Makerere University, he rose through the ranks to become a prominent Academician until he left in 1988 to take up a Ministerial appointment. He also served as the Chairperson of Appointments Board, Makerere University and served in almost all major Academic and Administrative facets of the University life, with a successful and impressive career spanning over 40 years, on a very conservative count. He has published widely in the Science field and has a strong regard for research in Sciences.
Professor Kagonyera served in various capacities as a Member of Parliament and as a Minister in various portfolios and showed exceptional brilliance and consistency in loyalty and dedication to this country. He also previously served as the Deputy Managing Director of NSSF.
Prof Kangonyera is a good man, like his dad
In his own words, Prof Kagonyera states thus about his dad, “My father was a fantastic man and that’s why I think he tremendously influenced my life because every time I think about what I am doing, I reflect on what my father would have done or would have wanted me to do. He was a very good man, kind and hospitable to the extent that in the village where we grew up, we were loved by everybody, and that was large because our father was a man who reached out to nearly everybody, whatever class they belonged to”.
KIU: The resilient University
Unlike many other Ugandan Universities, KIU was resilient enough to conduct three virtual graduations during the lockdown period, continued university business, and adopted the Open Distance and e-learning mode as approved by the National Council for Higher Education. Whereas all education institutions were fully opened since January 2022, just like KIU, we still run or conduct some academic, research, and community outreach programs in a blended format.
It’s true that in recent months, the Covid-19 cases reduced significantly. However, we have been alerted by the Ministry of Health that cases are beginning to raise again. So it’s my appeal to each one of us to behave responsibly and comply with the standard operating procedures and remain safe from the pandemic.
On a sad note, we lost several students and staff among whom were some of the longest-serving such Muzei Kalule Musa and Mr. Mugisha Sulaiman. Others include Mr. Barugahare George Wilson, a staff of the Estates department and , our Senior Lecturer and Head of Department in the College of Economics and Management, Dr. Kirabo Kyeyune and many more whom we have not mentioned here. May their souls rest in Eternal Peace.
In Mach 2020, the University Management, in consultation with and approved by the Senate and the University Council, took a bold decision and shifted from physical programming to online delivery: notwithstanding some hiccups that surfaced as a result of the shift. Thanks to all our staff and students who embraced the temporary change. Thanks to the Enterprise Resource Plan (ERP), ICT, and Digital Learning teams, who have been at the forefront of the implementation of our digital transition processes.
More PhD Accreditations
I want to inform the KIU community and the general public that KIU has received recent accreditation approval of at least 10 PhD Programmes in Medicine (awaiting the decision)- Already: Public Health, Pharmacy, Applied Statistics, Economics, Chemistry, Mathematics, IT, Computer Science and others. This will definitely make KIU a Research and innovations University, adding to its high profile as shown by the recent very impactful research output analytics in comparison to other universities in Uganda and within the East Africa Region. At this moment let me recognize the presence of Prof. Mary Okwakol, the Executive Director of the National Council of Higher Education, and express our appreciation to the NCHE for all the support and guidance in all accreditation and other engagements.
KIU Teaching Hospital and collaborating Teaching Hospitals
Our distinguished guests, I wish to update you that as part of ensuring hands-on training of medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists, allied health workers and other health workers, we continue to collaborate with 9 Hospitals spread out in the country: Lira, Kiryandongo, Mubende, FortPortal, Jinja, Kayunga, Hoima, KIU, and surrounding health Centres, to mention but a few. In these Teaching Hospitals, our students have access to the facilities and human resources to be able to attain all their learning outcomes. The University offers supplementary support to each site and operates fully-fledged coordination offices. This approach has led to the production of some of the best health workers, as exemplified by the excellence in internships and later placements post internships.
At the KIUTH, we have embarked on leveraging ICT to standardize Hospital Operations by deploying the Clinic Master Software to manage Hospital Information and services, and through that, we have enhanced effectiveness and efficiency. And on this note, I sincerely thank the Chairman Board of Trustees for the investment support and for his usual visionary and futuristic methodology. We have in plan to expand and integrate the services within all our partnering hospitals especially leveraging on the great success of the VODAN Project for the development of Fair Data Points in Uganda and other African Countries.
In addition, KIU has entered into collaborations with other renowned research and innovation centers such as the Uganda Virus Research Institute, Joint Clinical Research Centre, and School of Biomedical Sciences of Makerere University. At the regional level, we are delighted to inform you that we have operationalized a Memorandum of Understanding with NIMR (National Institute of Medical Research), one of the leading centers of excellence in Medical and Health Research. Our PhD candidates in the health sciences will have full access to the NIMR facilities to supplement our state-of-the-art University research and innovation facilities.
Research, Innovations, and Extension at KIU
I would like to inform you that in April 2022, KIU was formally admitted as the 1442nd Member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), with the objective of mobilizing global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical problem solving for sustainable development. The SDSN operates under the office of the UN Secretary-General and is a global network of Universities, Research Centers, and other Knowledge institutions, providing the following opportunities: i) Weekly Funding Opportunities, ii) Access to 43 National and Regional Networks, iii) Participation in teaching and training sustainable development through the SDG Academy. KIU being among the only three SDSN institutions in Uganda hopes to tap into this great opportunity of the SDSN membership and network.
In addition, many more research grants have been won and several innovative projects are being undertaken by staff and students. The most recent is that by the Yunus and You Foundation Project worth over 120,000/ Euros, and the actualization of the KIU Yunus Social Business Centre. These two Projects will definitely have huge positive impacts on social business sensitization and actualization within a year. The Projects are under implementation as we speak.
I am also glad to inform you that our VODAN Africa Project has gained great success and recently won the best Project and most inspiring Award out of 5 other very competitive Projects at the Global Health Symposium, as part of the official opening of the European Life Sciences and Health Week held at Bioscience Park, Leiden, Netherlands, under the auspices of the Leiden Medical Centre. This is in addition to the success of the Nuffic-funded Projects of the Digital and Innovation Skills Hub being implemented by the Dutch Partners (Tilburg and KIU) and other Partners in Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Somalia.
It is also gratifying to inform you that during June (21-22), a KIU delegation will be participating in an international European Development Days activities in partnership with other European and global partners, in Brussels, Belgium. Partnerships have also been initiated with the European Commission, the Trust Fund for Victims (TVF), ACP/AU, Gent, Tilburg, and Utrecht Universities.
Recent Staff Promotions
Let me congratulate all our staff who were recently promoted to various academic ranks including professors. I also welcome our staff who have been admitted into the KIU vibrant and dynamic staff development program. We are preparing you for the future to steer institutions of higher learning, including and not limited to KIU. I want to warmly welcome our new TAC Volunteers. I can affirm that we received the most senior and very high calibre staff, who are have taken on academic and administrative responsibilities and have given a big boost to the human resource capacity of the University. We are indeed grateful to the Federal Government of Nigeria through the TAC Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for the continued support. I recognize the Nigeria High Commission Officials here present and H.E The Ambassador, and also the Director General TAC in Abuja Nigeria. In addition, we have added to our team other senior staff from other parts of the World. Welcome and please settle in and add value to this fast moving but carefully driven University.
Our Chief Guest and distinguished ladies and gentlemen, today we are graduating 2,394, out of which 43% (1035) are females, and 57% (1359) are males. In terms of the quota contribution between the Main and western Campuses, 52% (1240) have trained at the main campus, while 48% are from the Western Campus. Among the graduands, 19 of them distinguished themselves from the rest by obtaining first-class degrees.
Take home message
Dear graduands, I congratulate you upon reaching this memorable day. You have indeed sacrificed a lot to withstand not only the challenges of Covid-19 but also real-life challenges. Great thanks to your parents, guardians, and other sponsors, who have supported you financially amidst economic hardships. Once again congratulations and wish you the very best in your lives and careers.
I invite you again to return and take advantage of the many new postgraduate programmes that are on offer with special waivers for the 2022/2023 academic year. Please contact the admissions office for details on how to access the KIU Board of Trustees COVID relief Scholarships and waivers.
Let me now appreciate all our partners in Uganda, East Africa, and beyond for the support and collaborations that keep raising the KIU Flag high. I particularly want to thank the Foreign Missions and Embassies in Uganda, International NGOs, and other agencies such as Nuffic Netherlands. I also take this opportunity to thank the NCHE, UMDPC, Allied Health Professional Councils, Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council, The Pharmacy Society and Council of Uganda, the Engineers Registration Board, the Uganda Institute of Professional Engineers, and all the others not listed here, but by no means less important.
I appreciate the Chairman and members of the Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, Chairperson and members of the University Council, University Management, Deans and Principals, Heads of departments, and all academic, administrative, and support staff, for all their efforts to keep the University operational. I also salute the KIU students Guild for their usual cooperation in serving students and working in harmony with the University administration. The team that has organized this successful ceremony.
All the best and wish you safe journies back and safe and healthy celebrations.
Prof. Mouhamad Mpezamihigo
11th June 2022