Our Special Guests,
Hon Cabinet Ministers Present;
Hon Members of Parliament;
Chairman and Members of the Board of Trustees;
Chairperson and Members of the University Council;
The Vice-Chancellor of Kampala International University;
Vice-Chancellors of Other Universities;
Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Other Members of KIU Management, and staff of KIU;
Alumni of Kampala International University (KIU);
Continuing Students of KIU;
Ladies and Gentlemen; in your various capacities;
It’s a great honor to be here as the Chief Guest, officiating at the celebrations of the 25th Graduation and Awards Ceremony of Kampala International University (KIU), held today Saturday 11th June 2022.
Indeed am very pleased that you chose the board value of knowledge as the theme for today’s graduation. In today’s world anybody, any group of people, any country without knowledge is doomed. Here at KIU, you are all engaged in the pursuit of knowledge. A very noble cause.
The theme of this graduation is the “Value of `knowledge”.
I want to appreciate the Chairman Board of Trustees of KIU, Al-Hajj Dr. Hassan Basajjabalaba. Haj Hassan who is a man of wonders, vision, and achievements. He has contributed immensely to the development of human capacity for decades now. I am happy to associate with him having followed his activities from a distance. He is an amazing developmental person, who indeed, keeps “Exploring the Heights” as the KIU Motto goes.
Let me also thank the University Council under the able leadership of Prof Fred Wabwire-Manghen for providing the oversight function of the University Management. In addition, with the achievements of this University, one needs to credit Management under the astute leadership of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mouhamad Mpezamihigo, who is known to be one of the leading transformative Vice-Chancellors in this country. His legacy is vivid wherever he has taken on a leadership role. Mr. Vice Chancellor and your team please keep it up and don’t relax. Sometimes the most difficult task is not to reach the top, but maintaining being at the top, and going even higher.
I am informed by the authority, that KIU is now ranked the 2nd best overall, and the leading Private University in Uganda. Congratulations!. This doesn’t come easily and therefore let me also thank all the academic and administrative managers, staff, students, and other KIU stakeholders for this achievement. You made and therefore, you make this country proud. You remember where you have come from.
I take note and happily so, that KIU is one of the very few Universities that stood the COVID-19 Challenges, and not only quickly adapted to the Open Distance and e-learning, and even conducted 3 virtual graduations. This is indeed a sign of being a leading University because you proved your worth and demonstrated that even in the times of the lockdown, you could work so hard to ensure continuity of the core University activities. I appeal to other Universities to benchmark with KIU and take some hard lessons.
Today, KIU releases yet another batch of graduates into the world of work in the most difficult of times given the economic hardships resulting from long lockdowns, skyrocketing commodity prices, and generally tough times for the national economy and globally. We are optimistic that what the graduands have acquired at KIU, will be the springboard of success in their various job careers. Whereas most people focus much more on skills and competencies, it is important that we understand the value of knowledge because it is the bedrock of all human progress.
Knowledge breeds wisdom and understanding and I, therefore, appeal to you to live a life driven by the value of knowledge. Seek it as much as you can and determine how to apply it for your own good, your community, and the global society. A lot has come to the surface in this error of disruptive technologies, and thus you must be careful not to misuse it, for there will be consequences. I, therefore, congratulate our graduands today for qualifying to become the KIU knowledge Ambassadors, wherever they will go.
For years now, I am continuously and highly impressed by the KIU student discipline portfolio and the level of resilience exhibited during the lockdown. It is my sincere hope that you will exhibit similar resilience and patience while you try to fit into the very challenging socio-economic global environment.
You all know that Africa has 60 % of the world's arable land but we are the hungriest. We have good weather and rainfall. We have large and in some cases most mineral deposits, yet we are the poorest. On the other hand, countries like Japan and South Korea have no raw materials of any sort but they are among the richest in the world, reason? Knowledge. The GDP of the Silicon Valley in California is around 500 Billion Dollars, Uganda’s with all the resources we have including around 45 million people is only 40 Billion, Reason? Silicon Valley taps into some of the best brains in the world including neighboring universities like Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley.
One of the major concerns of people in government, the private sector, and the society at large is that Universities produce products not suitable for the job market. Instead of complaints, Government and the private sector must join hands with Universities and put together programmes that would convert University graduands into skilled practitioners. This I hear happens in other parts of the world.
Having recognized the value of knowledge, I call upon the Vice-Chancellor and his management team to build knowledge hubs in each of the academic Schools, Faculties, and Colleges. These require investment in research facilities, which I am aware the Board of Trustees is giving full support with incredible investments. This is the very reason; KIU has received recent accreditation approval of at least 10 PhD Programmes in Medicine, Public Health, Pharmacy, Applied Statistics, Economics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and others. This will definitely make KIU a Research and innovations University, adding to its high profile as shown by the very impactful research output analytics compared to several universities in Uganda and in the East Africa Region. You may wish to know that in the USA, leading universities are privately and not by the government.
Appeal to the H.E. The President and Government of Uganda
It is common knowledge that there are huge shortages of human resources, especially in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). KIU does its best to attract quality highly trained and experienced staff from all over the World. However, there are challenges for which we appeal to the President and government of Uganda. Among others, the most critical is the issue of work permits for foreign staff.
It is our appeal that this matter is given consideration so that institutions such as KIU are given special consideration in work permit waivers and or reduced to the best minimum in order to allow for a smooth flow of the badly needed foreign staff intended for capacity building of local staff, after a period of service of the foreign staff. My view is that intellectuals should be citizens of the whole world. You may be aware that migrants contributed tremendously to the development of the USA.
You may remember, people like Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, and Oppenheimer. Tremendous achievements have been made at universities: Conversion of matter into energy by Rutherford hence the advent of nuclear energy, and the discovery of the transistor at Barkery by someone called Shockley. To say nothing of biologist philosophers and social scientists who have caused a transformation in today’s world. At Makerere, the use of prostaglandins in managing obstetrics was developed by one Kareem born in Kaliisizo. Not too long ago the use of drugs in preventing vertical transmission of the HIV Virus was developed. Children no longer acquire the virus during birth.
The second and critical request is the appeal to fund some of the services offered by the KIU Teaching Hospital. The hospital serves a wide range of the population of greater Bushenyi, Mbarara, and the Rwenzori regions. I appeal to the government to consider funding KIU Teaching Hospital since it serves as the Regional referral hospital in the areas stated above.
THE CELEBRANTS OF THE DAY
I would like you to know that we are surrounded by 21st Century inventions and innovations that have been championed by young people. Remember you constitute the most valuable portion of the population and therefore, you are expected to contribute to the efforts of creating and recreating solutions and interventions for your immediate community and the wider society at large. I wish to emphasize one virtue that has dwindled among young people: the aspect of trust and honesty.
Our business, work, and study environments are polluted with dishonesty, lack of trust, and corruption. Please guard those virtues so that you may stand out as strong pillars and champions of society and good role models for others. The world is increasingly multi-cultural, diverse, and complex than before and so you are expected to get out there and fit into society. It also means that you may require additional retooling and retraining in order to remain competitive, remembering that no one owes you a lunch. Watch out for the evil called corruption. Greed has become fashionable.
So I urge you to be hardworking and exercise honesty, patience, and fairness in whatever you will be doing. I wish you the best of luck and thank you for being such a nice audience.
I once again wish to congratulate the Chairman Board of Trustees, the Chairperson of the University Council, and the Vice-Chancellor Prof Mouhamad Mpezamihigo for steering the University to this success for this hugely successful graduation function. Go into the world and serve mankind.
For God and my Country
Prof. Mondo Kagonyera Former Chancellor, Makerere University