Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

Contact: Mark McGowan, NIU Office of Public Affairs
(815) 753-9472

January 24, 2006 

Vice chancellor of Africa University
to visit alma mater NIU Wednesday

DeKalb — Northern Illinois University alumnus Rukudzo Joseph Murapa, vice chancellor of Africa University in Zimbabwe, will spend Wednesday, Jan. 25, on the campus of his alma mater.

Murapa, the president and chief executive officer of Africa University who earned his master's and doctoral degrees at NIU in the 1970s, comes as the guest of the NIU Division of International Programs as part of an endeavor to establish official links between the universities.

Discussions also are expected on exploring additional areas of collaboration, such as conflict resolution and educational leadership, and on enlisting the collaboration of several NIU faculty members in this emerging and promising inter-institutional relationship.

The association would give NIU “a better understanding of a critical region of the world and its influence in world affairs,” said Deb Pierce, executive director of International Programs.

“I'm really honored that NIU has such a distinguished alumnus leading such an important university on the continent of Africa ,” Pierce said. “I believe that African perspectives need to be a part of the educational environment at NIU, and this provides a framework within which outstanding faculty, such as Teresa Wasonga from the NIU College of Education, can create research partnerships with faculty from Africa.”

Africa University is an independent pan-African institution of higher learning located in Mutare, Zimbabwe, with an enrollment last year of 1,300 students from 16 African countries.

Established in March of 1992 by the United Methodist Church, the government of the Republic of Zimbabwe granted a charter that same year. The university was created to meet the need for higher learning with a pan-African profile as identified by the United Methodist Church during its 1988 General Conference debate on global higher education. Operations started with the faculty of agriculture and natural resources and the faculty of theology.

The university currently has six faculties, now including education, humanities and social sciences, management and administration and health sciences. The initial strategic pan for the development of the university provides for the establishment of a seventh faculty in science and technology. In addition, the university also has established a semi-autonomous Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance.

Ngoyi K. Zacharie Bukonda, an associate professor in the public health and health education programs in the NIU College of Health and Human Sciences, was a visiting sabbatical scholar at Africa University last year.

Bukonda was developing joint research proposals with colleagues within the Faculty of Health Sciences and within the Institute for Peace Leadership and Governance when talks began to bring Marupa to DeKalb.

“NIU will be honored to welcome on its campus an alumnus who not only has achieved a very successful academic career,” Bukonda said, “but also is really committed to advancing the welfare of Africa by educating a new breed of African leaders who care and promote peace, understanding and social progress for many disenfranchised peoples on the African continent.”

Members and friends of the African Diaspora at NIU and in the northern Illinois region are invited to meet the vice chancellor from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Center for Black Studies on the NIU campus. During this meeting, Murapa will speak about his university, the justification of its creation and the dreams of the founders of Africa University regarding the future of Africa and the African people.

Call Bukonda at (815) 753-4801 or visit online for more information.

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