UMU holds 7th Commencement lecture
Uganda Martyrs University has been described as a University of value, a university of purpose and a credible University. This was during the 7th Commencement lecture held on Thursday 14th November 2019 under the theme: Towards a Peaceful and Secure Africa through Quality Higher Education. It was delivered by Prof. Adipala Ekwamu, the Executive Secretary of RUFORUM, a network of 121 Universities from 38 African countries.
Prof. Adipala who was the guest speaker was optimistic that parents and students chose Uganda Martyrs University as a result of an analysis of what it represents as a University of value, a university of purpose and a credible University.
“Your association with this University in particular to the graduands today will be well established. It is your day for admission into the convocation of Uganda Martyrs University! From today, you will not have just passed through this University but you will be a direct representation and an ambassador of this great institution. It is my prayer that you are all proud of this achievement and the decisions you made to be enrolled in this great institution.” He said.
He explained that he based his address on a topic; “Building a generation of Transformative Higher Educations Institutions and Leaders: You are the choice?” Because a) Universities represent a shared vision; b) Universities are centers of young and vibrant energy; c) Universities represent centers of passion for change and molding centers and; d) Universities are beckons of change.
Prof. Adipala alluded that the world we live in today is fast-paced; especially when it comes to advances in education and innovation. He advised that as universities, we need to be looking and questioning ourselves, where we are in this process, whether we are just users and consumers of these innovations and therefore keeping others to grow rich and richer or becoming part of the local and global disruption.
“Are we positioning our universities for relevance today but equally important, for the future? What must we do to be part of the change process and repositioning? This will require periodic reflections and visioning the future. What will be our niche in this process? He questioned.
Prof. Adipala reminded graduands to use the necessary tools provided to them in the course of studying, to define their future. “Please weigh your options, and be prepared to change so as to make yourself more competitive and market-relevant. It may require reskilling yourself- this is going to be a continuous process. But I urge you to be part of the change you desire for yourself, your countries and importantly for the communities around you. I don’t envy you: you will need to make tough decisions amidst a rapidly changing world,” he advised.
He also highlighted the tasks that the public has handed on institutions of learning and nurturing leaders for today and tomorrow. First, is the University’s responsibility to train leaders regardless of the discipline of study. UMU is, therefore, a leader, with ethical values and commitment to excellence. He added that the conceptualization of universities as institutions of learning and nurturing leaders for today and tomorrow is in itself a new paradigm that requires an appreciation of transformation. That many universities across Uganda and outside Uganda have traditionally focused on the technical aspects; producing excellent plant breeders, excellent agronomists, excellent accountants, excellent engineers, etc. who are devoid of self-drive and leadership qualities required to drive change, drive entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship.
Prof. Adipala reminded universities to operate at a multi-stakeholder level, serving as platforms of convergence drawing in multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary teams. He said that harnessing this multi-stakeholder expertise is a recognition of the strength of togetherness.
“The African cooking stones best illustrate why we need each other and the power of collectiveness, the pot will not sit well in the fireplace with only two stones! If you introduce the fourth stone, you can be able to prepare two dishes concurrently, you can see the double benefits of collectiveness!” he stressed.
He commissioned the graduands to go into the world and start new career paths, persevere and be resilient, hold a vision for what they want, be flexible to change the course of action to enable them access and harness opportunities.
“My wish is that you will become part of the change agents, building on the path and journey you have taken to create a better world and community. You should not see yourself as having arrived, but that you are part and partial of society and you have the responsibility to make the society perform better than you have found it.” Prof. Adipala advised.