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Citation for Hon. Betty Oyella Bigombe’s Award of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa of Makerere University

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I. Overview

Hon. Betty Oyella Bigombe is a lady of outstanding achievements. She has made great contribution to Uganda, the Eastern Africa region and the international community with respect to conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping, peace building and post-conflict reconstruction. Her contribution facilitated reduction of state fragility, political violence, and also contributed to social-economic growth and development.

II. Biography

Hon. Betty Oyella Bigombe was born on 21st October 1954 in Acholi land, Northern Uganda (Amuru District today). She is one of eleven children in her family. Her education is as follows: Gayaza High School; O-level which she completed in 1968; Trinity College Nabbingo, A-level, 1970. Makerere University, Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences 1974.; the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (U.S.A) Master of Public Administration. Her rise to prominence is largely attributed to her upbringing, educational background and performance.

III. Career

Earlier in her career, Hon. Betty Bigombe served as a Company Secretary to the Uganda Mining Corporation (1981-1984) and later as Project Manager with the African Development Bank (1984-1986). She became a Member of the Parliament of Uganda representing Kilak County, Gulu district from 1986 to 1996.  In 1988 she was appointed State Minister for Northern Uganda in the Office of the Prime Minster, and spearheaded efforts aimed at the pacification of north and northeastern Uganda. From 1997 to 2006, Hon. Bigombe worked as a Senior Social Development Specialist and Social Scientist with the World Bank Group, and was a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Peace in Washington D.C (2006-2008). Hon. Bigombe later returned to Uganda, serving as the Woman Member of Parliament for Amuru District and State Minister for Water Resources (2011-2014). In 2021, she was appointed Uganda’s Ambassador to Malaysia. She is a member of the Women Mediators across the Commonwealth, a network of women with interest and expertise in mediation.

IV. Contribution to Peace and Post-Conflict Settlement in Uganda

As Member of Parliament, Hon. Bigombe established relationships which facilitated delivery of humanitarian assistance in the camps.

Hon. Betty Oyella Bigombe (5th Left) with members of her family and the law fraternity who included the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs-Hon. Norbert Mao (5th Right), and the Lord Mayor of Kampala-His Worship Erias Lukwago (3rd Right). Left is the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Okello Oryem Henry. 74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 1, 29th January 2024, Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Hon. Betty Oyella Bigombe (5th Left) with members of her family and the law fraternity who included the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs-Hon. Norbert Mao (5th Right), and the Lord Mayor of Kampala-His Worship Erias Lukwago (3rd Right). Left is the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Okello Oryem Henry.

She initiated programs for educating youths on the dangers of war, supported former child soldiers’ reintegration after combat, and formed social support groups in northern Uganda. As the Minister of State for Pacification in Northern Uganda, Hon. Bigombe initiated contact with Joseph Kony in 1993. Her efforts led to face-to-face negotiations between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leaders, and Ugandan government officials, known as the “Bigombe talks,”. which garnered global interest. Her diplomatic skills and commitment to peace resulted in the ratification of an amnesty law which encouraged ten thousand rebels to participate in the negotiations between government and the LRA.  Hon. Bigombe was honored as Uganda’s Woman of the Year in 1994.

The initial peace talks between the LRA leader and the government collapsed. However, in 2004 in the wake of the brutal Barlonyo massacre, Hon. Bigombe felt compelled to leave the World Bank, to return to Uganda to, initiate a second wave of LRA peace negotiations, where she was the chief mediator.  Her efforts laid a foundation upon which the Juba Peace Talks mediated by the Government of Southern Sudan were successfully conducted, except for the final moment of signing the Peace Agreement which the LRA leader refused to honor.

Despite hiccups, Hon. Bigombe’s efforts contributed to silencing of the guns, return of Internally Displaced peoples home to rebuild their lives and communities. Considering the intensity of the armed conflict in northern Uganda, Hon. Betty Bigombe courageously faced serious risks to her life. Her efforts were recognized by the community in northern Uganda who endearingly call her “Atuku” in Acholi (for beautiful/precious woman).

V. Contribution to Peace and Post-conflict reconstruction in the Great Lakes Region

Hon. Betty Bigombe has spear headed conflict resolution within the region and emphasized the significant role of women and community members in peacebuilding. She contributed to fostering peace between the government of Uganda and Sudan through the work of the Carter Center in the years 1999 and 2000. 

The Orator-Assoc. Prof. Rose Nakayi reads the citation flanked by (Right to Left) Hon. Okello Oryem Henry, Hon. Norbert Mao, Hon. Betty Oyella Bigombe, members of her family and other officials. 74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 1, 29th January 2024, Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The Orator-Assoc. Prof. Rose Nakayi reads the citation flanked by (Right to Left) Hon. Okello Oryem Henry, Hon. Norbert Mao, Hon. Betty Oyella Bigombe, members of her family and other officials.

Following the signing of the Revitalised Peace Agreement, Hon. Bigombe mediated the unification of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army as well as conducting back door negotiations with some stake holders in order to ensure that the Revitalised Peace Agreement of 2018 is implemented in an inclusive manner.

Currently, Hon. Bigombe serves as Special Envoy for the President of Uganda to the Parties to the Revitalized Agreement of Resolution of the Conflict on South Sudan. She played a crucial role in bringing President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar together, to resolve pending issues necessary for moving forward and firming the peace process in South Sudan.

VI. Contribution to Peace and Post-conflict reconstruction at the Global level

Hon. Betty Bigombe served as a Commissioner for the Women’s Refugee Commission (2008-2014), led election observer missions in Zimbabwe and Rwanda, and continues to serve as a member of the Commission’s Leadership Program Advisory Board.

She also worked on peace-building efforts in Sri Lanka, as part of a team of mediators involved in negotiations between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers rebel group in the early 2000s. Even though the peace talks ultimately did not succeed, Hon. Bigombe’s efforts were recognized as instrumental in bringing the two sides together. She was a visiting scholar at John Hopkins, School of Advanced International Studies, Washington DC (2008-2009), where she shared her vast experience on mediation. As the Senior Director for Fragility, Conflict, and Violence at the World Bank (2014-2017), she steered the World Bank Group’s agenda in ensuring country strategies, projects, and programs are consistent with and complementary to organizational goals of reducing poverty and promoting shared prosperity.

VII. Conclusion

Hon. Betty Oyella Bigombe is outstanding and has demonstrated resilience with an unwavering commitment to peace and diplomacy in Uganda, the Great Lakes region and the world. Makerere University is proud and honored to award Hon. Betty Oyella Bigombe the Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa of Makerere University, and all the rights, duties and privileges pertaining thereto.

Orator: Assoc. Prof. Rose Nakayi, School of Law

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Advert: Mature Age Entry Scheme – Private Sponsorship 2024/2025

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Students sit for an exam in the pre-COVID era, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.

The Academic Registrar, Makerere University invites applications for the Undergraduate
Programmes under the Mature Age Entry Scheme only for Private Sponsorship for
2024/2025 Academic Year.
Non-Refundable Application fee of Shs. 50,000/= for Ugandans OR $75 Equivalent for
Internationals, plus bank charge should be paid in any of the banks used by Uganda
Revenye Authority after generating a Payment Reference Number (PRN).

  • Apply using the Institution’s Applications Portal URL:https: //apply.mak.ac.ug
  • Application is for candidates who passed the Mature Age Entry Examinations of December 17, 2022 and February 24, 2024 only.
  • Any candidate who passed the examinations in mentioned above and was not admitted on Government/ Private sponsorship for December 17, 2022 sitting, and for Government sponsorship for February 24, 2024 sitting, is eligible to apply for admission on Private Sponsorship for 2024 /2025 Academic Year.

The closing date for applying will be Friday 26th July, 2024.

Further details can be accessed by following this link.

Prof. Mukadasi Buyinza
ACADEMIC REGISTRAR

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Diploma/Degree Holders Admission Lists 2024/25

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Main Library, Makerere University. Photo taken on 29th February 2016.

The Office of Academic Registrar, Makerere University has released lists of Diploma/Degree Holder applicants admitted under Private/Self Sponsorship for the academic year 2024/25. Please note that admission is subject to verification of academic documents by the awarding institutions.

The admission list is displayed here below:

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African Futures Research Leadership Program: Cohort 5 – Call for Scholars

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Participants at the initial AAP convening participate in design-thinking exercises to help imagine the future of partnerships between MSU and Africa. Photo: AAP

The Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) is seeking applicants for the fifth cohort of the AAP African Futures Research Leadership Program. This competitive visiting scholar program supports early career researchers from the AAP consortium to work for one year under the mentorship of faculty members from MSU and their home institution, focusing on building skills in research for impact, writing scholarly and/or policy publications, disseminating of research results, and developing grant proposals for external support. Scholars will also participate in a structured professional development program while building bridges and lasting connections with MSU contacts and across their cohort. 

The main objective of the African Futures program is to strengthen the capacity of a cadre of African researchers to return to their home institutions and become scientific leaders in their community, establish long-term partnerships with MSU faculty, co-create innovative solutions to Africa’s challenges, and in turn become trainers of the next generation of researchers. This program aims to address the gender gap in Africa, where only 30% of researchers are women, so scholars selected for the program will be women, or men who can demonstrate they are committed to support efforts towards gender equity in higher education institutions in Africa. The research areas that the scholars will engage in during the program should be aligned to AAP’s research priority areas

The AAP Management Team requests applications from early career researchers to participate in the next cohort, with work to begin virtually in February 2025. Scholars will spend September – December 2025 at MSU for the in-person portion of the program, followed by another period of virtual collaboration, ending in early 2026. The scholar and mentor team will receive a small grant for research and professional development activities including conference attendance and publication. Scholars will also receive a stipend during their time at MSU, visa application support, and round-trip travel from their home institution.

Eligibility

  • Citizen of an African country 
  • Completion of a PhD degree within the last 10 years 
  • Employed as an Academic Staff member at one of the AAP African consortium universities including Egerton University, Makerere University, University of Dar es Salaam, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Botswana, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, University Cheikh Anta Diop, University of Arts and Humanities, Bamako, United States International University-Africa, and University of Pretoria 
  • Have documented approval of leave or sabbatical to participate in the program for the in-person period 
  • Have a mentor at their home institution that will serve as a collaborator and mentor
  • Research must be in one of the AAP priority areas
  • Applicants may only submit one proposal to AAP in this round of funding. Prior scholars are not eligible to apply. 

To learn more about the program, including how to apply, click below

Learn more

Applications to be an African Futures scholar are due August 18, 2024

Additional program dates:

  • Program start date (virtual): February 2025
  • In-person program: Sept – Dec 2025
  • Program end date: February 2026

Please contact Jose Jackson-Malete at jacks184@msu.edu or +1 517-353-6989 with any questions.

Source: AAP

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