The Chancellor, Prof. Ezra Suruma while delivering his remarks at the opening ceremony of the Fourth Edition of the Kampala Geopolitics Conference has called for reflection on how COVID-19 demonstrated our interconnectedness as a human race, hence the need to work more closely together. The ceremony held in the Central Teaching Facility 2 (CTF 2) Auditorium on 10th November 2021 marked the beginning of the three-day conference on the theme; Crisis and Opportunity: Mapping the Geopolitical Importance of Africa.
“I am delighted to note that we indeed have people from many continents and as I was reflecting on this topic, it became clearer to me that indeed we live in one world. We may have lines drawn on the map and say this is Uganda, this is DRC and this is Egypt but these are lines on paper. In reality, we live in one global world” remarked Prof. Suruma.
He observed that the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the globe and the struggle to combat it through vaccination had led to a rise in vaccine nationalism. Prof. Suruma was therefore happy to learn that this topic would be discussed in depth at the conference.
The Chancellor further said that Uganda, given its location as a landlocked nation and the political developments in surrounding countries has a keen interest in geopolitics.
“Our hosting of large numbers of refugees, for example, is clear evidence of this fact. Geopolitics therefore is not a matter of indifference for Uganda. As seen historically and in contemporary history, Uganda has a great deal to ponder” said Prof. Suruma.
He thanked the partners Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, the French Embassy in Uganda, French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, UN Women Uganda and Alliance Française for their commitment to ensuring that this important conference is held annually.
“And thank you especially for choosing Makerere University. We appreciate this vote of confidence at this time that Makerere is celebrating 100 years of service to Uganda and to the world. This year-long celebration through a series of events will be an occasion to reflect on our achievements, our successes and our failures in the past century. It will also an opportunity to lay strategies for the future” shared the Chancellor.
In his address, the Ambasssador of France to Uganda, H.E. Jules-Armand Aniambossou noted that as Makerere University commemorates 100 years of existence, the topic on Re-imagining Higher Education for the Post-COVID-19 Era would be of special interest to the institution and conference.
“This specific panel will open up an opportunity to re-imagine the future of Education for Africa in the context of the global family especially through the lens of digitalisation” added the Ambassador.
H.E. Aniambossou reminded the audience that one of the main ideas behind the Kampala Geopolitics Conference was to promote freedom of speech. “And I believe that as every challenge brings an opportunity, this year’s hybrid edition will enable us to give the chance to more people to enjoy this freedom of speech by interacting both physically and virtually with our guest panelists.”
The opening ceremony was also addressed by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Country Representative, Ms. Anna Reismann who noted that a university does not exist in a vacuum but is embedded into society and has impact on its development, just as society has an impact on the institution’s life.
“Therefore, also my congratulations on successful 100 years of navigating Makerere University through different political challenges, social developments and surely, some administrative constraints. Looking into the future of the university, one is certain the challenges might change but they will also always remain” said Ms. Reismann.
Turning to the Conference theme, she noted that the crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the opportunities that are arising from it have placed Africa as an important region on the global map. She added that Africa is an important player in the peace and security dialogue, as an investment destination and trading partner, as a contender in addressing global challenges as well as an arena where different powers compete for influence.
Still on the topic of influence, Ms. Sylvie Matelly, Deputy Director of the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS) who addressed the conference virtually admitted that it was a source of great pride for her institution, that their annual conference on contemporary international relations held in Nantes, France had birthed the idea of an annual Kampala Geopolitics Conference.
“Moreover, people used to think that because of the complexity of such topics the debate is just a private one but we are privileged that this is a public one and that is exactly why the Geopolitics of Kampala is a success year after year and I hope it will continue for a long time” remarked Ms. Matelly.
“After a very difficult period, we are pleased that we can again hold this event in person at Makerere University as we approach the 100 year celebration of the University as well as the 30th year since the foundation of Makerere University School of Women and Gender Studies” said Ms. Adekemi Ndieli, Deputy Country Representative UN Women, Uganda as she commenced her remarks.
Quoting the former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Ms. Ndieli said “The world is wasting a precious resource as the dramatic underrepresentation of women which results in exclusion of talents and skills in the economy.”
She therefore said that the Kampala Geopolitics Conference is an important opportunity for UN Women to elevate women’s voices and hear their input and solutions across a broad range of topics. The topics range from climate action to feminist movements building to transitional justice and to engagement in outer space. The elevation, she noted, should be viewed in the light that gender equality is not only a pressing moral or social imperative but is a critical economic challenge.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are living in unprecedented times as we all know and the COVID-19 pandemic has presented us one of the greatest challenges of our generation. Beyond the virus itself the response to COVID-19 has exposed deep inequalities in our societies and in global partnerships across the world” she added.
Ms. Ndieli continued to say that whereas COVID-19 had had disproportionate and devastating effects on social and economic life, these effects were more pronounced among the most vulnerable and as such, had tested the ability of states to come together to address the global challenges. “However, it has also presented us with unprecedented opportunities to build back better.”
The opening ceremony was followed by a panel discussion on Re-imagining Higher Education for the Post-COVID-19 Era, where the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe was joined by Ms. Sylvie Matelly, Mr. Benjamin Rukwengye, Founder and CEO – Boundless Minds Uganda and Moderator Mr. James Kassaga , ED and Co-Founder – Teach for Uganda.
The Vice Chancellor shared that through partnerships with international collaborators, Makerere University had built a formidable force of academics that do research in all areas, and in the case of COVID-19, were very much aware of issues to do with online education.
“Online education is the future, even without the pandemic” said Prof. Nawangwe. “If Uganda’s population doubles, with the infrastructure we have now, we cannot take in all those children who will be seeking higher education” he added.
Prof. Nawangwe said the university had taken advantage of the resources it had to train all staff in online education as well as alternative methods of education. This, he said, had ensured that Makerere had not suffered as much as the rest of the Ugandan education sector during COVID-19.
“We as the leading university have got the responsibility and obligation to support the other universities and other institutions to come out of this. And we are currently working with organizations around the world to train our colleagues at other universities on online education” said Prof. Nawangwe.
This panel was followed by another on Vaccine Nationalism and Diplomacy in the Times of the Pandemic, moderated by Dr. Milton Mutto, a Global Health Research Scientist. Panelists included Ms. Anne Senequier (IRIS), Dr. Alfred Driwale (MoH), Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze, Dean, Makerere University School of Public Health, Dr. Olaf Wientzek (KAS Geneva) and Mr. Andrew Bakainanga (WHO).
Prof. Wanyenze in her submission had noted that the struggle of who wins the vaccine war had given rise to a vaccine infodemic characterized by misinformation about the efficacy of some vaccines, resulting in their rejection by some sections of the public.
Touching on vaccine equity, she noted that up to 90% of the world vaccine market is controlled by a few companies, resulting in scarcity of vaccines such as the Covid-19 one, even for nations that had the money to purchase them.
“We talked about test kits for COVID-19. At the beginning you could hardly get them and buy them even when you had the money on the table. It was just the same dynamics as what you see for the COVID-19 vaccines. The same is true for the new COVID-19 drugs” she shared.
The Fourth Edition of the Kampala Geopolitics Conference that runs until Friday 12th November 2021 has adopted the format of Twitter Spaces at 12:30 PM on Day 1 and Day 2 as well as at 7:00 PM on all three days.
Join the Conversation using the #KampalaGeopolitics hashtag.
A Successful Ph.D. Defense by Vianney Andrew Yiga
The CEDAT community is proud to share our congratulations to Vianney Andrew Yiga following his successful Ph.D. defense that happened yesterday Monday 3rd October 2022 at the College of Engineering, Design, Art, and Technology (CEDAT).
His Thesis was titled; Thermal Stability of Fiber- Reinforced Polylactic Acid Composites for Flameretarded Applications.
The candidate was supervised by Eng. Dr. Michael Lubwama and Eng. Dr. Peter W. Olupot both from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, at CEDAT.
Dr. John Wasswa, Department of Chemistry, College of Natural Sciences (CONAS), Makerere University was the opponent that interrogated the candidate to enable a clear understanding of the study.
Makerere University Launches National Parenting Draft Manual
By Agnes Namaganda
On July 22nd 2022, Makerere University–Child Health and Development Centre (Mak–CHDC) launched a draft manual for the National Parenting Standards. The Centre has been working together with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) with funding from UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund), to develop standards that are agreeable to all organisations in the country that are involved in parenting work. The draft manual was being presented to members of a consortium that brings together all these organisations together, called the Parenting Agenda Consortium.
“We produce many documents and they are shelved,” Irene Ayot Chono, who was speaking on behalf of UNICEF said. “We hope that this document will not be one of them,” she emphasized.
Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC who presented the draft manual to participants, emphasized that if any organization is doing parenting work, there should be a minimum package that they should offer.
Draft Manual Content
The manual which will have several modules. These modules will be delivered face-to-face in 1.5 hour sessions. Some of these include; Module 6 which will focus on “understanding responsible masculinity and fatherhood” and on “understanding the concept of head of family.”The draft manual also proposed that Module 11 focuses on Parenting in the 21st Century. Some of the sessions in this module will include Children and Technology, Contemporary Influence on Children and Modernity, Culture and Morality.Module 9 will focus on Parenting for Adolescents and some of the suggested sessions within this module are Needs for Adolescents and The Art of Communicating with Adolescents. Module 5 will focus on Preventing Violent Parenting and Promoting Alternative Discipline Strategies while Module 10 will be about Parenting to Address the Mental Health for Children and Adults.
After the presentation, participants raised several suggestions for discussion and consideration. These included whether there should be a module on spirituality since Uganda is a strongly religious nation. There was also the concern of how children in remand homes should be parented. Another concern raised by a participant was as to whether teachers who make an undeniable contribution to parenting, should be taken through the parenting manual.
In her closing remarks, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo, the Director of Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) said that the manual is for the parenting organisations to utilize and not for MGLSD.
Ms. Chono also adjured the team behind the manual to use picture illustrations in the manual that can be relatable by the Ugandan parents.
Contact: Agnes Namaganda – email@example.com
Launch of Mak-RIF Round 4 Awards & PhD Call for Proposals
Makerere University received funding from the Government of the Republic of Uganda, earmarked to support high impact Research and Innovations. This unique initiative arose after engagements between the top University Management and the Government of Uganda. This fund illustrates the increasing importance that the Government attaches to Research and Innovation as a driver of development and transformation. The objective of the fund is to increase the local generation of translatable research and scalable innovations that address key gaps required to drive Uganda’s development agenda.
In the Financial years 2019/2020, 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 the Government of the Republic of Uganda through Mak-RIF has funded implementation of over 750 multidisciplinary research and innovations within the various Colleges, while engaging multiple stakeholders within and outside Makerere University. The Grants Management Committee (GMC) has finalized the award process for the Mak-RIF round 4 call for funding for this Financial Year 2022/2023.
The Grants Management Committee (GMC) hereby invites you to the Launch of the Mak-RIF Round 4 awards and PhD Call for Proposals scheduled to take place tomorrow Thursday 29th September 2022 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. EAT.
Please use the following details to join the launch.
Register in advance for this meeting:
Meeting ID: 884 5662 9992
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