Keeping the Pan- African connection- AU Board of Directors meet in Dar es Salaam Tanzania
The Africa University Board of Directors physical meetings were held from the 17th to the 21st of March 2023 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, after the various committee meetings of the Board were completed virtually earlier in the month. The Board also had the opportunity to visit and fellowship with the local UMC community and gain insight into the impact of the church in the country. Africa University alumni from Tanzania were present to celebrate the many milestones of the institution and deliberate on their role and sustained contribution to the inspirational story of Africa University into its fourth decade under the leadership of Vice Chancellor Reverend Professor Peter Mageto.
Opening the Board session with a retreat for members aimed at engaging, strategizing and reimagining the role of the Board in the leadership of the university, President of AU Tennessee Inc. and Associate Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement Mr. James Salley , Vice Chancellor Reverend Professor Peter Mageto, Interim Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Pamela Machakanja and University Legal Counsel Mr. Tinoziva Bere led Board members through the rich history of the university, its founding philosophy and planned trajectory. The session also served as an induction for new members joining the AU Board of Directors, of note, Mrs. Vongai Matangaidze, an alumna of AU and a successful businesswoman leading various investment portfolios for whom the March 2023 meetings were her first.
UMC impact in Tanzania and fellowship with the community
Following the day- long retreat , on the 18th of March, the Board visited Muvuti Mission under the Tanzania Conference to witness UMC projects under the direction and support of AU Board Chairman Bishop Dr. Mande Muyombo who also leads the North Katanga Area, which includes North Katanga, Tanganyika and Tanzania conferences in the Congo Central Conference of The United Methodist Church. The Board also spent the afternoon visiting the Global Mission Secondary School (GMSS), touring the campus led by its pupils and hosted by school Director Ms. Young Seon Kim.
Special Sunday services hosted on the 19th at Chang’ombe First United Methodist Church and Amazing Grace Church, where East Ohio Conference Bishop Tracy Smith Malone served as guest preacher at the former and GBHEM General Secretary Reverend Greg Bergquist at the latter, allowed for an immersive experience into the diversity, cultural nuances and unique local flavor brought to worship services by the local Tanzanian UMC community.
AU’s executive led by VC Rev. Prof. Mageto additionally hosted a banquet in honour of Board members, Tanzania based alumni and friends of Africa University, with Guests of Honour, United States of America Ambassador to Tanzania Michael Anthony Battle, Sr. and Zimbabwe Ambassador to Tanzania Rtd. General Anselem Sanyatwe represented by Head of Chancery Ms. Chikwizo , who is also a graduate of Africa University, present. In remarks made to Africa University from both diplomatic missions, appreciation was given for the continued investment in Africa by the institution through education, granting the continent and its people increased self- determination in matters of sustainable development , innovation and the propagation of entrepreneurship to drive economic growth and empowerment.
AU Zimbabwe and AU Tennessee Inc. Plenaries and dedication service for an Africa Giant- Professor Athanasius Ndesanjo Mphuru
Rounding off the March Board Meetings, the 20th through to the 21st saw the reports from the Vice Chancellor and the Associate Vice Chancellor for the AU Zimbabwe and AU Tennessee Inc. plenaries delivered respectively where institutional sustainability, student centeredness and the continued pursuit of excellence formed the foundation of both sessions with a call for the continued vigor and passion for the mission of Africa University being made to alumni especially, who came out in their numbers to support the Board while in session in Tanzania.
In closing, a special dedication service was held for founding AU faculty member Professor Athanasius Ndesanjo Mphuru from Tanzania who was Dean of the then Faculty of Agriculture and served as Deputy Vice Chancellor for a number of years. The Mphuru children, Lucy, Brian, Andrew and Alex, joined the celebration of life of their father led by VC Rev. Prof. Peter Mageto.
All four are graduates of Africa University and took time after the service to reconnect with fellow alumni and former lecturers present at the dedication.
In continued remembrance of loved ones lost, Board Member Mrs. Vongai Matangaidze pledged a donation of USD 10, 000 to AU in memory of her late husband. Additionally, Mr. Charlie Moore presented a cheque of funds donated by a well-wisher of the institution.
Thank you for your tireless service- Reverend Jorgen Thaarup term of service comes to an end.
The March 2023 Board meetings were the last of Board member Reverend Jorgen Thaarup from Denmark , Europe Central Conference , who joined the Board in October 2012 serving for 10 years. Rev. Thaarup was the Chairperson of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee overseeing the successful implementation of academic policies and programmes for the enrichment of student life and experiences. AU remains a mission that moves hearts and minds and whose impact across the continent is testament of God’s work being done.