[Botswana] Former President inaugurated first Chancellor, Amref International University
His Excellency Mr Festus Gontebanye Mogae, third president of the Republic of Botswana has been inaugurated as the first Chancellor of Amref International University (AMIU).
HE Festus Mogae will serve in the position of a Chancellor for one term of five years, an appoinrtment that is effective from today. Among the main duties of the Chancellor will be to confer Degrees and award Diplomas and Certificates during graduation ceremonies.
‘‘We are elated that HE Festus Mogae honoured our request to be our first Chancellor. With his wealth of experience as a statesman, an economist, his passion and practice in community based health system strengthening, we are certain that he will lead the University to be the Premier Pan African University with a strategic academic and research niche in health sciences,’’ noted Prof Margaret Kobia, Chairperson of the University Council.
Amref International University, the Pan-African health sciences University is an affliliate of Amref Health Africa – the largest Africa based international health NGO. From its predecessor Amref International Training Centre, AMIU started in 2017 and focuses primarily on health sciences training with a commitment to progressively develop innovative programmes catering to the present and future needs of African populations.
‘‘The decision to upgrade the training centre to a university was in response to the dynamic needs for quality health care in Africa. It is thus gratifying to witness this final stage of transformation to a University,’’ said Mr. Omari Issa, Chair, Board of Trustees.
HE Mr. Mogae appreciated the opportunity to serve as the first Chancellor of AMIU. In his acceptance speech, he commented: ‘‘I graciously, accept the roles and responsibilities of a Chancellor to work together with all stakeholders in profiling and supporting this great institution, and to be part of a team that will build a health sciences University that will set pace for evidence-based learning and practice.’’
Speaking at the inauguration event, Prof. Marion Mutugi, Vice Chancellor, noted, ‘‘We are honoured to have such a renowned and respected Chancellor. The installation of the Chancellor is re-energising; it is an impetus to recommit ourselves to develop a University where students will have a practical learning experience responsive to unique African community and emerging global public health needs.’’
AMIU is strategically positioned in Amref Health Africa’s organisational strategy. In training human resources for health, AMIU is anchored on Sustainable Developement Goals (SDG) goals three and four.
‘‘We are certain that the symbiotic relationship between Amref Health Africa and Amref International University will make AMIU the ‘University of Choice’ for health practitioners who wish to contribute to Universal Health Coverage, both locally and regionally,’’ said Dr. Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO, Amref Health Africa.
The ceremony was attended by among other dignitaries, Her Excellency Former President of Malawi Dr Joyce Banda, and Her Excellency Former Vice President of Uganda Dr Speciosa Wandira-Kazibwe.
During his presidential tenure as President of Botswana, the new Amref International University Chancellor, HE Mr Mogae prioritised health service provision. He is particularly remembered for his response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic where Botswana was the first African country to avail free ARVs and roll out a grassroots prioritised health system strengthening programme that ensured that even citizens in the remotest part of Botswana had access to a health centre in their community.
On top of being a former president of Botswana, he has served in various international organisations including the World Bank. HE Mogae is a recipient of many awards including the coveted Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African leadership for ensuring “stability and prosperity”.