Thursday, March 27, 2014

Two Big News Stories from Africa University

There have been two big news stories from Africa University in the last week.  The first came last Wednesday, when Africa University announced the election of a new vice chancellor, Dr. Munashe Furusa.  Since the Chancellor is a ceremonial title held by the United Methodist Bishop of Central Congo, David Yembe, the Vice Chancellor is the chief executive office for the school, responsible for its day-to-day functioning.  Dr. Furusa will be the forth person to hold that position in the school's 22-year history when he begins his new role on July 1st. Moreover, this announcement came during a first-ever joint meeting between the Africa University Board of Directors and the Board of Directors for the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education & Ministry (GBHEM), a week-long time of sharing, learning, and discussion.

Both of these events are good news for Africa University, but both stories are also notable for what they reveal about transnational cooperation in the current UMC.  Dr. Furusa is originally from Zimbabwe, the country in which Africa University is located.  But he has also spent time in the United States, teaching and serving as dean at California State University, Dominguez Hills.  In his time in the US, he has built a wide network of contacts, and he will now be entering a position that involves collaboration with people from across the continent of Africa.  Dr. Furusa has been and will continue to be a medium for reciprocal influences to travel among Zimbabwe, the rest of Africa, and the United States.

The GBHEM and Africa University boards are also such conduits.  The Africa University board includes members from across Africa and the USA.  The GBHEM board, while predominantly American, also include members from Zimbabwe, Congo, Puerto Rico, Russia, Germany, and the Philippines.  Moreover, their recent joint meeting has served as an additional means by which influence can travel both ways across the Atlantic.  The role of the United States in establishing Africa University is undeniable.  Yet some of the most exciting quotes to come from the joint meeting were from American GBHEM board members speaking about how much Americans can learn from Africa University, its programs, and its successes.

Africa University continues to have a bright future ahead of it.  And the future of the UMC - in Africa, in the United States, and around the world - will be brighter because of the good work of Africa University.

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