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Humanities & Social Sciences

Crafting the Bamasaba: a Mak-NUFU film premiere

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The Mak-NUFU folklore project is a collaborative effort between the Department of Literature Makerere University and The Norwegian Programme for Development Research and Education (NUFU) aimed at establishing the role of Ugandan folklore as a repository of traditional wisdom.

The Mak-NUFU folklore project is a collaborative effort between the Department of Literature Makerere University and The Norwegian Programme for Development Research and Education (NUFU) aimed at establishing the role of Ugandan folklore as a repository of traditional wisdom.

One of these methods is through the promotion of cultural film production and research.

DVD Cover

Crafting the Bamasaba is the first full-length feature (62mins) and the third film under this project, which aims at exploring the life and aspects “Beyond the physical cut” of the actual Imbalu initiation ceremony. Other titles before this were IN THEIR OWN VOICES: THE MADI OF UGANDA (44mins) and Imbalu: The heart of Masabaland (17mins)

 

L-R Prof Ssengendo Dean, Arts, Prof David Bakibinga & Dr. J. KaahwaThe premiere of this film, held at the Department of Food Science and Technology Conference hall was attended by University staff, representatives from the Uganda film industry and students. Notable among the staff were Prof David Bakibinga, former Deputy Vice Chancellor Finance and Administration, The Dean, Faculty of Arts Prof. Ssengendo, Dr. J. Kaahwa, deputy Dean Faculty of Arts and Mr. Adolu Otojoka.

L-R Sr Dipio Head Dept. of Lit and Mr. Danson Kayana Asst. Lecturer LitSr. Dr. Dominic Dipio, Head, Department of Literature welcomed everyone to the screening and thanked especially the students and staff for making time despite their busy exam schedules. She proceeded to give a brief background of the film, which was shot in Manafa, one of the districts comprising the land of the Bamasaba in Eastern Uganda. She then introduced the film and wished everyone a happy viewing.

DVD back coverThe film kicks of with the unmistakable sounds of the undulating drums and flutes that accompany ceremonies of the Bamasaba, most outstandingly the processions leading up to the Imbalu initiation ceremony. It then delves into the origins of this ceremony, which as tale has it, was introduced by a girl called Nabarwa, who set a condition of circumcision in order for her to accept any romantic advances from her Mumasaba lover man. Having fulfilled her condition, the two proceeded to live happily ever after and henceforth, the Imbalu tradition was born and accepted as a core cultural ingredient and distinct identity signifying the transition from boyhood to true manhood.

It then touched on practices preceding the actual initiation ceremony, which is marked by elaborate colorful processions that often move over 20kms in a single day! These see the ‘candidate’ move from village to village announcing his candidature to his uncles and soliciting and receiving gifts. The audience’s concentration on the feature was unmistakable as the air was often punctuated with sounds of laughter, awe, gasps and winces as some images quickly flashed by. On the other hand, some of the key informants’ interviews also didn’t escape the jeers and flashes of disdain from this attentive audience as some of their contributions, though from a cultural point of view trampled on modern day gender roles and relations.

This feature ends with comments from the key informants recognizing that times have indeed changed and some of accompanying practices are overtly unsafe as the participants are often under the influence of alcohol and hence more susceptible to illicit behavior. Economic factors also come into play as hitherto elaborate celebrations, characterized by weeklong feasting are no longer affordable and tend to put a strain on the candidate’s family. The prolonged applause as the film’s end credits rolled up indeed proved the audience’s enjoyment of the premiere.

The days emcee Mr. Danson Kayana, Asst. Lecturer Department of Literature commended everyone for being such a great audience and hoped for an equally amiable reception the next time an invitation was extended. He then invited Sr. Dipio to moderate the next question and answer section.

Mr. Adolu Otojoka; popularly referred to as professor because of his great contribution to performing arts in the Department of Music, Dance and Drama thanked the Department of Literature for their wonderful work Mr. Adolu Otojoka cracks up the audienceand shared his personal experience, which as a young man drawn by his undying love for a Mumasaba girl saw him almost brave the knife in 1954. However, this wasn’t to be as he quickly changed his mind and fled for dear life after witnessing a candidate undergo the un-anesthetized operations under the swift hands the ‘surgeon’.

Mr. Otojoka’s contribution sent the audience into uncontrollable laughter and indeed set the pace for the audience’s questions and comments, which touched on the depth of the film, the apparent degradation of women during the ritual, the act of circumcising dead bodies and matters to do with spirituality. Prof. Ssengendo, Head, Faculty of Arts and representing the Ag. Vice Chancellor Prof. Baryamureeba thanked the Department of Literature and Sr. Dipio in particular for her tireless contribution to Faculty especially in the performing arts division.

Prof Hannington Ssengendo Dean, Faculty of ArtsHe observed that the production of such films was indeed in tandem with the university strategic plan’s component of outreach, the rest being teaching and research. Furthermore, he noted that the production of such films would not only enrich the cultural repositories of the institution but also play a key role in helping the Makerere community to learn more about other cultures and hence appreciate them better.

Mr. Kifu Taddese, Rep. Africa Cinema and Culture CompanySr. Dipio then took this opportunity to recognize some of the key informants present during the launch; Ms. Florence Mutonyi Dujanga, Lecturer Physics Department, Mr. Francis Wambete, Lecturer Institute of Languages and Mr. Dominic Makwa, Masters Student. She also recognized Mr. Kifu Taddese, a representative from Africa Cinema and Culture Company, who helped with the post production, representatives from AMAKULA Uganda Mr. Ken Barongo and Ms Sarah Sigayi.

Mr. Dominic Makwa M.A student Makerere University KampalaAfter a few more contributions from the audience, Sr. Dipio invited some of the key informants present to react to the issues raised. Mr. Makwa, who had his fair share of presence in the film, led the reactions and left the audience stunned when he reaffirmed what had aired during the film that, possession by spirits was culturally permissible for the circumcisers as without spiritual influence, they’d lack the “blessing” to perform the revered tradition.

Dr. Florence Mutonyi Dujanga, Dept. of PhysicsQuick to follow was Ms. Mutonyi, who sought to clarify on the role played by women in this male dominated ritual. Reacting to one of the contributors who was appalled at the Bamasambas’ apparent sexual exploitation of women during the processions, she stressed that the original taboos associated with pre-marital sex weren’t meant to condone exploitation of women but rather to deter would-be victims by labeling/ostracizing the offenders.

Mr. Francis Wambete, Faculty of ArtsMr. Wambete then closed the question and answer session by commenting on questions about the physical abuse meted out by the elder men on the initiates. He explained that this was only meant to toughen up the candidates and test their determination to see the ritual through while all the time watching for any signs of hesitation or cowardice so as not to shame the family during the more severe Imbalu. Regarding the practice of circumcising the dead, he clarified that it was cultural taboo, which was believed to bring a curse upon the entire clan, to burry an uncircumcised male adult however bizarre and appalling this circumcision routine seemed to be.

Prof. David BakibingaProf. Bakibinga in his remarks thanked Sr. Dipio once again for her tireless efforts in keeping the Department of Literature’s light burning by regularly inviting people to witness their works. He also commended Sr. Dipio on her novelty, which has seen the introduction of a Film Production course, housed under the Department and hoped that this would help hone the skills of future world-class film producers and directors. He noted that this would not only enable the students to become entrepreneurs but also cement the outreach component of the University’s strategic plan, as the communities would be able to witness the good works of Makerere.

Mr Jeffrey Balemezi, Film EditorIn conclusion, Sr. Dipio thanked AMAKULA Kampala and Africa Cinema and Culture Company for their contributions and support, the key informants for their willing participation, The Head and staff of the Faculty of Arts for their encouragement and belief in their work and Jeffrey Balemezi, The film’s editor for a job well done. She further stressed that the film only featured certain cultural view points and as such did not represent the Bamasaba culture entirety. However, she hoped that this would be a stepping stone for future productions to explore specific components moderately touched on by this film.

Copies of the film can be obtained at the Department of Literature, Faculty of Arts Makerere University at UShs 10,000/= per copy.

Humanities & Social Sciences

Mak Almnus Prof. Ngugi Wa Thiongo Honored, Humanities Book Launched during the Humanities Conference

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The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (2nd R) presents an assortment of Mak Souvenirs to German Ambassador, H.E. Matthias Schauer (2nd L) as Principal CHUSS, Prof. Josephine Ahikire (R) and Prof. Grace Bantebya (L) applaud on 23rd August 2022, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium, Makerere University.

The three-day International Humanities  Conference organized by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) was on 23rd August 2022 opened with the Graduate Mentorship session, followed by  planting a  tree in honor of Makerere University Alumnus Prof. Ngungi Wa Thiong’o by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe At the Arts Quadrangle.

Prof. Grace Bantebya (R) makes her remarks as L-R: Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, H.E. Matthias Schauer and Prof. Josephine Ahikire listen.
Prof. Grace Bantebya (R) makes her remarks as L-R: Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, H.E. Matthias Schauer and Prof. Josephine Ahikire listen.

Prof. Nawangwe also launched a book titled, “ Historicising Humanities at Makerere: Trends, Patterns and Prospects”. The book authored by over 20 people with 16 chapters is an outcome of a project on historicizing the humanities at Makerere supported by the Andrew Mellon Foundation of New York.

The conference convener Dr. Levis Mugumya said the key goal of  the project was to rethink and reshape the role of humanities in Uganda and reexamine the basis and significance of humanities and humanistic social sciences at Makerere University from a historical perspective.

“The sixteen chapters have taken a slice of the history of some disciplines and raised questions around their basis and trajectory. It is an attempt to renew conversation and debate as well as ideational leadership of the academy “, Dr. Mugumya said 

The three day Humanities conference 23rd-26th August 2022 was  part of the activities to celebrate the 100 years of Makerere University service to Humanity, held at the Yusuf Lule Auditorium.

The overriding thrust of the conference was to explore how the knowledge revolutions have impacted university practices and transformed the teaching of and research in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The conference also acted as a discursive zone to interrogate innovative ways through which Humanities and Social Sciences scholarship has refocused beyond the knowledge revolutions to imagine the inevitable future economic, social, biological and political challenges to humanity.

The conference was blended to enable physical and virtual engagements, presentations, and insightful and vibrant discussions. It will consist of keynote addresses, individual and panel presentations, and graduate student panel discussions.

It attracted key note speakers:- Prof. Ngungi Wa Thiong’o – a distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature from the University of California;Derrick Peterson – Ali Mazrui Collegiate Professor of History from the Afro-American and African Studies University of Michigan and; Nakanyike Musisi – a Professor from the African Women Education and Development, Makerere University/ University of Toronto

It would be a  mistake to discredit humanities as a second class subject

The conference was officially opened by the German Ambassador to Uganda H.E Matthias Schauer. The ambassador underscored the role of humanities in society saying, it is un imaginable to create a legal regulatory system without a profound knowledge of history of society and language which is part of the humanities.

He observed that scholars in humanities and social sciences have witnessed three major knowledge   revolutions since 1945 from Area studies, cultural studies and global studies. Ambassador Schauer noted that today, there are signs that scholars may be at another brink of the fourth revolution as witnessed by problems in maintaining global production process, amidst rising transport costs, political unrest and the realization  that  countries may not be  dependent on  one other.

“We have been fooling ourselves that economic interdependence would prevent out conflicts but this is not the case. We may now need a new focus on global cooperation and create new fields of research in humanities and social sciences”. He said.

The Guest of Honour, German Ambassador H.E. Matthias Schauer delivers his speech.
The Guest of Honour, German Ambassador H.E. Matthias Schauer delivers his speech.

He said humanities attracts a huge number of students at universities because of the diversity of subjects and rich menu for offer. On the political debate on education, Ambassador Schauer noted that its common to hear that countries may need natural scientists, engineers and technicians to increase economic performance.

Though that may be right to some extent, Ambassador Schauer described the humanities and humanistic social sciences as vital to society saying, it would be a mistake to discredit humanities as a second class subject. He advised that young people should do what they feel passionate about.

 “First of all they (Humanities) help us understand each other. Language, history and culture shapes each one of us. Without communication that works, nothing much else can work. Humanities also teach us to approach new complex issues in a systematic way to assess information and considering different facts from all sides, Humanities make us informed and critical citizens and, without humanities, democracy would not work. Humanities also foster social justice and teach us empathy and make international relations broader and stronger. Humanities encourage us to think creatively, to reflect upon ourselves and human nature and to think outside the box. Humanistic services   enrich the soul and make us a cultured individual,” The ambassador asserted.

The ambassador also described as false the thinking that humanistic degrees are not marketable as degrees in STEM, business management and other natural sciences.
“At sight that might seem true, but in my experience a student who diligently study in humanistic subjects will always carry this energy and motivation successfully into his professional life and sell more as in finding a good job. Almost all employers desperately need employees who can communicate fluently, intelligently and persuasively and, employees who can organize their thoughts and synthesis their scattered information into a coherent story. 

Employers need employees who are equipped with soft skills such as the ability to converse with difficult topics in a constructive manner and it is the humanities that helps them to express very well. Humanistic education will enrich you very well, emotionally, socially and intellectually and gain a wide experience while at college”, The ambassador asserted.
The Ambassador hailed the long standing relationship and collaboration that Germany enjoys with Makerere University especially with CHUSS. 

He said  it was now over  60 years when Germany was taught in  the evening class at Makerere University as an extracurricular language program that continued till 1967 when the first bachelor of arts was established and it became the first German phonology in East Africa.

He highlighted a number of advantages of studying Germany including teacher employment opportunities in education sector, participation in internships, huge range of opportunities in tourism, training opportunities and on job trainings in companies and unique connections, interaction and demand across the world.

The ambassador encouraged the university leadership to foster the teaching of foreign languages  at Makerere in prominent way at CHUSS department of European and Oriental languages and  proposed the establishment of  Master of Arts  program in Germany as the most appealing to him.

He expressed the Germany commitment to continue funding the Ugandan students and staff in their academic and other endeavors.

CHUSS reputed for producing eminent scholars

The Vice Chancellor Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe reported  that the  Humanities and Social Sciences have been at the heart of Makerere University since the introduction of History in 1946, and the East African Institute of Social Research in 1948. 

He explained that the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is reputed for producing eminent scholars and political leaders, including Julius Nyerere, Milton Obote, Mwai Kibaki, Benjamin Mkapa, Oginga Odinga, Okot p’Bitek, Ali Mazrui, David Rubadiri, Nuruddin Farah, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, John Ruganda, V. S. Naipul and Wole Soyinka among others. 

Prof. Nawangwe informed participants that CHUSS has championed the critical role of humanities and humanistic social sciences in comprehending, interpreting, and recognizing societal commonalities and differences as well as fostering critical thought, social justice, equity and democratic practice stressing that, in the 1960s and 1970s before the onslaught of neoliberalism and the emphasis on STEM, the humanities and humanistic social sciences were vibrant.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe addresses the International Humanities Conference 2022.
Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe addresses the International Humanities Conference 2022.

In spite of this rich history, Prof. Nawangwe pointed out that the current positionality and relevance of the disciplines of humanities and humanistic Social Sciences has come under scrutiny as compared to the natural scientific disciplines.

While the University is prized in scientific research, Nawangwe said, today’s complex global challenges such as ‘global warming, global poverty, global epidemics’ and gender inequality cannot be solely explained or resolved by natural scientific disciplines. 

“It is therefore important to understand the human factor, which is central in most of the modern scientific glitches. Not only do the humanities and humanistic social sciences explicate our existence as human beings, but they also contribute to creating “tolerance and understanding between citizens”, which promote social cohesion, and challenge established positions, social norms and traditions through critical thinking, and preserve heritage, cultural memory and identity”, He said.

The Vice Chancellor was optimistic that the knowledge and strategies generated through the conference will go towards uplifting the lifestyles of the people and also aid in conducting a comprehensive review of all aspects of teaching, theorizing, research and practice in the humanities and social sciences disciplines.

Prof. Nawangwe extended appreciation to development partners for the support extended through generous acts such as sponsoring this fora, capacity building, research and developing infrastructure with  particularly recognition to the Andrew Mellon Foundation and Gerda Henkel Stiftung for supporting academic activities in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences as well as the Government of Uganda for supporting research and creating an environment conducive for the same to thrive at Makerere University.

The Vice Chancellor also appreciated keynote speakers, Prof. Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Prof. Nakanyike Musisi and Prof. Derek Peterson, the participants, and all guests for honouring the invitations. 

To the students (PhD and Masters), The Vice Chancellor expressed happiness that  that the International Humanities Conference 2022had commenced with the Graduate Mentorship session. 

“You are being nurtured and mentored to not only become the next generation of academics, but to also provide leadership and championship towards Uganda’s development and transformation of your communities.

I encourage you to actively participate in the conference so that you learn more as you pursue your PhD and Masters” Nawangwe said and applauded CHUSS management under the leadership of the Principal, Associate Professor Josephine Ahikire for hosting a number of activities in line with the centenary celebrations.

The conference looked at the world with resolve for greater humanity

The Principal CHUSS, Associate Prof. Josephine Ahikire welcomed all to the conference saying, this was the first Conference to be held after the serious lockdown for two years as the university celebrates the Humanities and Social Sciences and make a mark on the nation, continent and the world at large.

This conference themed:  Knowledge revolutions and Practices: Area, Cultural and Global Studies she said , is structured as part of Makerere’s Centennial celebration aimed at exploring  how the knowledge revolutions have impacted university practices, the teaching of and research in the Humanities and Social Sciences as well as human praxis.

“We use this space as a discursive zone to interrogate innovative ways through which Humanities and Social Sciences scholarship has refocused beyond the knowledge revolutions to imagine inevitable futures. We use this very space to foster critical thought about life, its afflictions, and ideals of human society –  to debate and rejuvenate theory and practice”, The Principal said.

The Principal CHUSS, Prof. Josephine Ahikire delivers her remarks.
The Principal CHUSS, Prof. Josephine Ahikire delivers her remarks.

Prof. Ahikire acknowledged the friendship and partnership between Germany, Makerere and the country at large and specifically, the support by the Gerda Henkel Stiftung to the college that  has  soared the capacity of PhD training at CHUSS.

On behalf of CHUSS and Makerere University, the Prof Ahikire  thanked the  keynote speakers:  Prof Ngugi who was not able to join, saying that he was and is still enthusiastic about this Conference and what happens at Makerere adding that , Prof. Ngungi has always believed/ and openly confessed that Makerere made him and Perhaps he also made Makerere. 

“This symbiotic relationship is one we greatly cherish at CHUSS. Prof Nakanyike Musisi  – a gem- renown historian of our time. Welcome home- proud alumnus. Prof Derek Peterson, we treasure your commitment on restoring and conserving history”, Prof. Ahikire commended.

Prof. Ahikire emphasized that the humanities have been at the heart of Makerere University since its birth and is reputed for eminent scholars, post-independence political leaders and activists. Under the ambit of the CHUSS program dubbed Humanities@ Mak 100, the Principal said,  this conference was part of the efforts to galvanize humanities scholarship for even greater human utility on the African continent. 

“As humanity continues to grapple with challenges such as mis -governance, conflict, climate change, and pandemics there is need for more ingenuity and inventiveness. In very specific ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for a multidisciplinary approach to this unprecedented global health challenge, with the human subject at the centre.” She said adding that:“These conversations are important because our disciplines allow us to experience humanity at its best. This Conference is therefore aimed at facilitating these debates and key issues in the Humanities and Social Sciences. It is our hope that the conversations that start here do not stop here, but help us critically look at world we live in with resolve for greater humanity”. 

Prof. Ahikire acknowledged the generous support of the Mellon Foundation (USA) which allowed the college to dream three years ago – when the idea of the book was proposed. The Mellon Foundation she reported has also supported various research efforts by Early Career and Senior Scholars in the college including the  support for this conference that was also committed  three years ago.

She thanked the University management for enabling the college to meaningfully pursue the strategic goal of a truly research led university and, the chair of the Organising Committee, the Convener of the Conference and all members of the organising committee for the job well done.

Conference planned to discuss issues important for the survival of human race 

The chairperson CHUSS  organizing committee Prof. Grace Bantebya said each year the college  organizes a  conference adding that what started as symposia  has metamorphosed into great and rich academic conferences.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (C) with Prof. Josephine Ahikire (L) and Prof. Grace Bantebya (R) during the tree planting ceremony in honour of gallant Alumnus Prof. Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o in the Arts Quadrangle, CHUSS.
Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (C) with Prof. Josephine Ahikire (L) and Prof. Grace Bantebya (R) during the tree planting ceremony in honour of gallant Alumnus Prof. Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o in the Arts Quadrangle, CHUSS.

Prof. Bantebya hailed the college leadership for the support and the organizing committee for the commitment that led to the success of the conference noting that they have tirelessly worked in their different committees to see to it that it materializes.

She also thanked the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the Gerda Henkel Foundation for the support to the conference as well as the different doctoral students cohorts over the years.

“The issues this team has prepared for you to chew are those that are pertinent to our being human. It is for this reason that we are sometimes looked at as activists because issues of urgency within the global context are important for the survival of human race and this is why conferences of this nature need to keep happening”. Prof. Bantebya said.

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Computing & IS

US Embassy Engages Makerere on International Collaboration

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Prof. Wing- Kai addressing members of CoCIS as the Mak coordinator Dr. Ddumba Daniel notes down on 10th August 2022, Makerere University.

The Embassy of the United States of America in Uganda is coordinating a study Abroad engagement entitled, “Establishing University Partnerships to attract more US Scholars and Students”.

Prof. Wing-Kai  and Dr. Daniel Ddumba,  interact with CoCIS Ag. Deputy Principal  Dr. Peter Nabende.
Prof. Wing-Kai and Dr. Daniel Ddumba, interact with CoCIS Ag. Deputy Principal Dr. Peter Nabende.

The Study Abroad engagement which is sponsored by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs will focus on holding institutional capacity of Ugandan Colleges and Universities to host more US students, interns, researchers and teachers.

Some of the CoCIS Heads of Department attending the meeting.
Some of the CoCIS Heads of Department attending the meeting.

The embassy hired the US  consultant Prof.  Wing-Kai, the Assistant Provost for Global Engagements and Senior International Officer at Bridge Water State University to conduct eight workshops  at Makerere University colleges.

The embassy engaged Dr. Daniel Ddumba, a Lecturer from the department of Geography, Geo-Informatics and Climatic Sciences to facilitate the execution of this program.

CoCIS staff and students pose for agroup photo with Prof. Wing-Kai after the meeting.
CoCIS staff and students pose for agroup photo with Prof. Wing-Kai after the meeting.

In the morning of  10th August 2022, Prof. Wing-Kai, was in the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS)  where he met  the Principals, Deans, Heads of Departments, scholars and students to understand the process of  global cooperation.

Prof. Wing-Kai said,  the meeting was used  as a channel to improve the  activities for international collaborations.

Dr. Daniel Ddumba, Dr. Engineer Bainomugisha (CoCIS) interact with Prof. Wing-Kai after the meeting.
Dr. Daniel Ddumba, Dr. Engineer Bainomugisha (CoCIS) interact with Prof. Wing-Kai after the meeting.

“What I found is that this college has productive exchanges with Europe and United States but there some people are not aware of these collaborations and these collaborations can be improved by providing funding for Ugandan students to go to the West for short term opportunities. I hope that my visit can encourage the US government and American universities to start working with this college and to provide more opportunities for professors and students”, Prof. Wing-Kai.

Some of the CoCIS graduate students attending the meeting.
Some of the CoCIS graduate students attending the meeting.

Following the COVID-19 Pandemic and its impacts on all sectors, Prof. Wing-Kai stressed that this was the time for the college and partners to rethink their structure for improving international collaboration.

A section of CoCIS staff attending the meeting with Prof. Wing-Kai.
A section of CoCIS staff attending the meeting with Prof. Wing-Kai.

“We are going to talk to the Principal whether there is going to be an international office and a coordinator to manage the collaborations with international entities and how to develop different strategies for prioritizing the partnerships so that they have clear goals and outcomes and try to make it sustainable for the future”, Prof. Wing- Kai pledged.

On the same day 10th August 2022 afternoon, Prof. Wing-Kai held a meeting with management, staff and students from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS).  Prof. Wing -Kai described the meeting especially with students who  formed  the majority as interesting.

Prof. Wing-Kai (R) speaking to CHUSS staff and students as the Principal's representative Dr. Jimmy Spire Ssentongo (L) listens.
Prof. Wing-Kai (R) speaking to CHUSS staff and students as the Principal’s representative Dr. Jimmy Spire Ssentongo (L) listens.

“ Most of the audience are undergraduate and some graduate students. I hear about their experiences. I want to encourage them to think  about having an international experience in future by trying to go abroad for short term and developing some international activities and to internationalize the curriculum on campus not just going abroad. It is easier to internationalise through connecting  with international community in Kampala and abroad  here physical and virtually”, Prof. Wing- Kai said.

Prof. Wing-Kai implored the university management to increase the capacity for internationalization so that Makerere can improve the infrastructure and   programs, and to tap into the United States experience in internationalization.

CHUSS staff and students pose for a group photo with Prof. Wing-Kai after the meeting.
CHUSS staff and students pose for a group photo with Prof. Wing-Kai after the meeting.

Some of the proposed initiatives by students include creating  internship platforms and streamlining scholarship to  cater for undergraduates,  streamlining  international coordination, facilitating online discussions between Western and African students and strengthening the office of the Dean of students to facilitate  academic exchanges.

CHUSS Student president Abdul Fatah (Standing) contributes to the discussion during the meeting.
CHUSS Student president Abdul Fatah (Standing) contributes to the discussion during the meeting.

Other initiatives to strengthen collaboration suggested include organizing the US-Makerere special events such as  competitions, workshop, annual exhibitions, camps, cultural performances that would provide opportunities to highlight international education as well as the  American, European , Chinese etc culture on campus.

Dr. Ivan Lukanda (L) and Dr. Ebila Florence (R) interact with Prof Wing-Kai and Dr. Daniel Ddumba after the meeting.
Dr. Ivan Lukanda (L) and Dr. Ebila Florence (R) interact with Prof Wing-Kai and Dr. Daniel Ddumba after the meeting.

Other proposals were the need to form the US-Mak Alumni association, organizing short visits for students and staff to and from Africa to see how programs are run, joint research and, forming a community of practice to share ideas and to network.

Prof. Wing-Kai speaking to CHUSS students and staff in the Multimedia/E-Learning Room, Level 4, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University.
Prof. Wing-Kai speaking to CHUSS students and staff in the Multimedia/E-Learning Room, Level 4, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University.

Other proposed initiatives include  promoting online education to expose students and staff to  best structures and expertise, promoting virtual conferences, joint publications and more student engagement of students outside the classroom through debates and clubs.

Jane Anyango is the Principal Communication Officer, CHUSS and CoCIS

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Humanities & Social Sciences

Sr. Prof. Dominica Dipio receives the SIGNIS-Africa Award of Excellence

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Sr. Professor Dominic Dipio of Makerere University in Uganda.

Reverand Sister Prof. Dominica Dipio, of the Department of Literature, College of Humanities and Social Sciences has received the SIGNIS-Africa Award of Excellence for Contributing to the Communication Apostolate in Africa.

Sr. Prof. Dipio was recognized during the premiere SIGNIS-Africa delegates Conference held in Kigali, Rwanda.

At the Kigali Delegates Conference held from July 11th -15th 2022, SIGNIS-Africa recognized, for the first time, individuals and organizations – Africans and non-Africans – who have, over the years, contributed to the vision and mission of SIGNIS-Africa, which is basically to enhance human communication and to provide a forum for people to speak out.

“I was identified as one of such persons. I have, since 2001, as a film student at the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome), associated with the SIGNIS world; and in this capacity, I have not only participated in the organization’s conferences, but also represented it at several global film festivals as a juror. This experience has, over the years, helped me harness my juror experience; and this has been extremely useful in providing guidance for the young film industry in Uganda”, Sr. Prof. Dominic Dipio said.

SIGNIS stands for World Catholic Association for Communication. It is a Catholic lay movement that brings together communication professionals around the world, covering the entire gamut of the media: press, radio, television, cinema, video media education, internet and new technology.

It came into existence as a result of a merger between two Catholic Media organizations which until 2001, operated separately as the International Catholic Organization for Cinema and Audiovisual (OCIC) and the International Catholic Association for Radio and Television (Unda). Now, the two and the new media, all come under SIGNIS as the official body of media related affairs in the church’s apostolate.

SIGNIS is recognized by the Holy See as an International Organization of the Faithful (not the clergy). The word itself is a combination of ‘sign’ and ‘ignis’, a Latin word that means fire. The main objective of the organization is to use the media as an instrument of enhancing human and Gospel values in society.

Although it is a global network of communication professionals, SIGNIS is structured in continental segments for more effective management, thus SIGNIS-Africa.

Read more:

  1. https://mailchi.mp/a480e3a05399/african-synodality-issue-003-july
  2. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/africa/news/2022-07/signis-africa-pledges-to-embrace-the-synodal-way-in-its-structur.html

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