Speech Of The Chairman Board Of Trustees
At The 25th Graduation Ceremony Of Kampala International University
Held On 11th June 2022
At Main Campus, Kansanga
The Chancellor of Kampala International University, Prof. Mahmood Mamdani
Our Chief Guest
Your Excellencies the Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Members of Parliament,
Fellow members of the Board of Trustees,
Chairman of the University Council and Council Members,
The Vice-Chancellor of Kampala International University,
Vice-Chancellors of other universities,
Representatives of the various universities and organizations,
The staff of Kampala International University,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Once again it is that time of the year when we get to celebrate what the Almighty God has generously enabled us to achieve as KIU family. But this year we celebrate with much more gratitude. For a long spell of almost three years, we have not been able to conduct physical graduation ceremonies due to the conditions imposed by COVID-19. This is the first time we are congregating face-to-face since November 2019. I, therefore, welcome all KIU stakeholders to this rather special 25th graduation ceremony of Kampala International University. We applaud the various stakeholders who have made this possible.
Mr. Chancellor Sir,
My message today is captured in 4 short points:
1. Managing in times of economic downturn
2. Infrastructural Accomplishments and Pipeline Projects
3. Affirmative Action on Postgraduate Studies and Research
4. Appreciating the Various Stakeholders
1. Managing in times of economic downturn.
As we may all have experienced, the economic effects of the lockdowns occasioned by COVID-19 have been far-reaching across the entire economy. Like I noted in my message during last year’s virtual graduation ceremony, KIU, like all other private universities, was hard hit and is yet to fully recover to its pre-COVID form. On a more positive note though, I did indicate that the Board of Trustees had taken innovative measures to ensure that the institution’s operations keep running while at the same time, investing in key strategic infrastructural developments. Owing to innovative financing models and commitment by the Board of Trustees, I am glad that we have been able to achieve landmark progress despite the hard times. Of course, along the way, there have been enormous sacrifices made by staff, students and their sponsors, guardians or parents.
2. Infrastructural Accomplishments and Pipeline Projects.
In addition to the long list of infrastructural accomplishments I reported during last year’s graduation, over the last couple of months we have been able to complete a set of blocks for biomedical sciences at Western Campus and are now well furnished and operational. A large scale state-of-the-art main library is also in advanced construction phase at the same Campus. It is currently at the 3rd floor and is projected to be completed and in use by the end of 2022. Additionally, plans have already been finalized to embark on construction of more housing units thereby increasing on the accommodation capacity of the Campus for both staff and postgraduate students at Western Campus, Ishaka. Our strategic vision of transforming the Western Campus into a science and technology hub is already taking impressive shape, with increased student and staff interest to join the University. I am also glad to inform you that a huge investment is being injected into the Research and Innovation Labs in the biomedical and clinical sciences to support the new PhD Programmes in Health Sciences.
3. Affirmative Action on Postgraduate Studies and Research.
The Board of Trustees has noted that due to the economic hardships resulting from the long spell of COVID-19, prospective postgraduate students are failing to enroll. Yet, the need for postgraduate scholars in the region is still huge, particularly in the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. In view of this, the Board of Trustees has instituted a COVID-19 relief waiver of 50% on tuition fees for all postgraduate programmes. This is a one-off waiver targeting the August 2022 intake. The waiver will be valid the whole duration of the programme of study and is open to students from anywhere in the world. The condition attached to this waiver is that students must complete their programme of study within the scheduled period. Any extension of time beyond this period will be met by the student under normal fees requirements. Hopefully, this will enable those who would have missed out to achieve their postgraduate targets.
Let me now use this moment to sincerely thank the following categories of stakeholders:
• The Chancellor. Our Chancellor, Professor Mahmood Mamdani has served in the most challenging times the institution has seen. He was installed right in the middle of the first lockdown. However, being a versatile and open-minded scholar, he has since effectively presided over the University’s ceremonies and other due roles.
• The University Council. As I have always noted, KIU is blessed to have the caliber of University Council we have. It is constituted by seasoned scholars, career professionals and entrepreneurs. With the leadership of Prof. Fred Wabwire-Mangeni, the Council has ably provided excellent policy guidance and oversight over the operations of the institution. Among others, I would like to particularly applaud the outstanding work done by the Appointments and Promotions Committee chaired by Professor Jessica Nakavuma. The recently commissioned Research and Innovations committee of council has also enhanced the research drives by the University Management. We are committed to supporting them as they strategize to raise KIU’s research profile to higher international recognition.
• The Senate. KIU’s Senate is doing a tremendous job, against all odds, the academic processes of the University were maintained even during the long lockdown period. We congratulate the Senate and promise our continued support.
• Management and Staff. One of the conspicuous manifestations of the impressive performance of management and staff under the leadership of the Vice Chancellor Prof Mouhamad Mpezamihigo, is the consistent high ranking of KIU in Uganda by the Webometrics world rankings. For KIU to be the second ranking University in the Country is no mean achievement. The Board of Trustees is committed to provide more funding for activities that help to continuously improve the quality of teaching, learning and research. The other aspect where we commend management and staff is successes achieved in local and international partnerships in the areas of research and community engagement.
• Government of Uganda. Government of Uganda has been very supportive of KIU through its various Ministries and agencies, particularly, Ministry of Education and Sports; Ministry of Health; Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the National Council for Higher Education, as well as the respective professional bodies. We will work towards sustaining this good working relationship with Government of Uganda.
• Local and International Partners. We thank all KIU’s local and international partners for the boost you have given us. We are optimistic that existing and new collaborations and partnerships will expand the KIU portfolio to keep high in its ranking.
• Parents, Sponsors and Graduands. Finally, I would like to thank the students and their sponsors for having chosen KIU among over 50 universities in Uganda. Those who have made great sacrifices can now finally smile as they see the fruits of their investment today. As a university, we do not take you for granted. I wish to encourage today’s graduating class to apply what they have learned to go out there and find a way of adding value to other people’s lives and in order to remain relevant in society. I wish all of you a successful life, using your academic achievements as a springboard.
I once again thank the Almighty God for this occasion and all who have graced today’s graduation ceremony, both physically and virtually. KIU remains committed to contributing significantly to the development of higher education in Uganda and Africa through consistently transforming KIU into a world-class university. We will continue to need your support and guidance.
As usual, we continue Exploring the Heights. I thank you.
Dr. Al Haji Hassan Basajjabalaba
Chairman Board of Trustees
Kampala International University.