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This year, The United Methodist Church marks 30 years of vibrant, transformative ministry through Africa University (AU). Thank you, Mountain Sky Conference, for your faithfulness and generosity in bringing the dream of Africa University to life.
In celebrating its 30th anniversary, Africa University is honoring the past and looking to the future, while remaining true to its mission as the cornerstone ministry for United Methodist-related leadership development in Africa.
Much like the year that preceded it, 2021 affirmed that God’s grace is sufficient in all circumstances. In January 2021, the students, faculty, and staff grappled with the sudden death of Africa University Vice Chancellor, Dr. Munashe Furusa. As the year unfolded, the pandemic claimed more lives and national lockdowns continued to restrict travel and damage livelihoods. Unable to be together on campus, the students, faculty, and staff grieved, pivoted, supported, and encouraged each other, and persevered.
Africa University is grateful to the Mountain Sky Conference for investing 100 percent of its budget commitment to the Africa University Fund (AUF) in 2021. Thank you for ensuring access to a life-changing higher education experience for Africa University students, especially those who are unable to fund a college education on their own!
Against the backdrop of a global pandemic, Africa University harnessed new opportunities for missional engagement in 2021. The year’s highlights include:
Effective online-only teaching, learning and student assessment: About 99 percent of students participated in online learning. Enrollment held steady at 3,060 students and more than 500 graduates from 24 African countries were awarded degrees in July 2021.
The installation of AU’s fifth Chancellor: Bishop Gaspar João Domingos of the Western Angola Episcopal Area was elected Chancellor following the death of Bishop John K. Yambasu of Sierra Leone.
Research and community service:
AU researchers received US$2 million in funding for regional initiatives to eradicate malaria, tuberculosis, and other communicable diseases.
AU’s students and graduates led, and showed their love of neighbor, with initiatives to feed hungry families, care for the environment, and improve the quality of life of legally blind parents and their children.
AU received the 2021 Jairos Jiri Humanitarian Award by the Government of Zimbabwe for its pandemic impact mitigation efforts.
Africa University’s journey from day one, in March1992, to the present is a shared story of being salt and light. Africa University is also a part of the Mountain Sky Conference’s story—a uniting, United Methodist dream come true—of restoring hope, equipping, and sending forth young leaders to shape an abundant life for themselves and for the communities they serve.
Thank you, Mountain Sky Conference, for letting your light shine for young women and men who would otherwise be left on the sidelines. “A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden”. Similarly, AU’s current students and its more than 10,000 graduates to date are that metaphor made real. The Mountain Sky Conference walks alongside these young people as they hone their abilities, live fully into their purpose, and join in the work of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
James H. Salley, Associate Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement and President/CEO of Africa University (Tennessee) Inc.