Keeping the connection

Africa University was honored to receive a visit from long- time friend of the institution Mr. Nils Meinhardt whose father was a long serving member of the Board of Directors. Follow his journey toward keeping the connection.

Story by Juliet Sithole

Office of Advancement and Public Affairs Media Graduate Trainee

It is indeed a school of hope in the valley of dreams, and the dream will always be alive! This can be attested to by Mr. Nils Meinhardt who visited the Africa University Main Campus from the 1st of May 2023 after such a very long time. Mr. Nils resides in Germany and hails from a family of three children. His siblings are Christof and Miriam and his mother is Birgit. The Meinhardt family grew up in the United Methodist Church in Berlin. Mr. Nils’ father is the late Rev. Heinrich Meinhardt, who served Africa University as a Board member since its inception, but was called to glory in 2009. During his time in service, Rev. Heinrich Meinhardt was dedicated, charismatic and passionate about the cause and mission of AU, imparting a desire to see the institution grow among those he served alongside.

Carrying forth his father’s passion for Africa, Nils visited Africa University 12 years ago when he was serving as an intern in the Institute of Peace Leadership and Governance (IPLG) for 3weeks during his semester break in Germany where he was undergoing undergraduate studies. Fondly recalling academic mentors from the Institute such as Professor Grima Menelik (now Interim Dean CSSTHE) and Professor Pamela Machakanja (now Interim Deputy Vice Chancellor), Nils spoke to the generous welcome and guidance he received in his academic growth in the peace and conflict field. “It was my first time visiting the continent and being at Africa University marked my first foray into building an international career.” Nils now works for the Germany Society for International Corporation (GIZ) as the Head of Digital Transformation and the Deputy Programme Manager for Digitalisation for Utilities Development in the Department of Economics and Social Affairs.   

He went on to further say that the Institute since its inception has played a leading role in the peace building arena generating platforms for vital stakeholders, players in the development sector and governments to dialogue and amenably discuss matters that present challenges to lasting peace at all levels. Speaking to the development that has taken place since his last visit to the main campus, Nils took stock of the progress that has been made to date saying, “It is indeed mesmerizing. I am so excited by everything that I have seen and I plan on reliving this with my family when we all return for another visit. I have borne witness to what my father helped to establish through his service and I hope to also keep supporting the institution, picking up from where my father left.”