Annual Conference Session Offering to Benefit Africa University
The 2017 Annual Conference Session offering will benefit Africa University as the school celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
The celebratory offering for Africa University will take place during opening worship on Wednesday, June 21. Clergy and laity from churches across the California-Nevada Conference are encouraged to bring, and present their offering during this time.
Africa University aspires to become a world class university for leadership development in Africa. The mission of Africa University is to provide quality education within a Pan-African context through which persons can acquire general and professional knowledge and skills, grow in spiritual maturity, develop sound moral values, ethics and leadership qualities.
With an enrollment of more than 1,500 full-time students and 800 part-time students, Africa University, located in Old Mutare, Zimbabwe, today has more than 6,100 graduates from 32 African countries. More than half of the students (53 percent) are female — more than double other universities throughout Africa. The university offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in agriculture and natural resources, education, health sciences, humanities and social sciences, management and administration, peace leadership and governance and theology.
Today Africa University boasts 6,200 alumni many of whom have gone on to serve in their countries in significant leadership positions. Countless people in the worldwide connection have supported the university with their prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. Over the years, United Methodists have provided financial support through the Africa University Fund apportionment and World Service Special Gifts, bearing testimony to the high regard for AU within the connection.
In 1984, two African bishops, with the support of thousands of African Methodists, issued the call to create Africa University. Bishop Emilio J. M. de Carvalho of Angola and Bishop Arthur F. Kulah of Liberia challenged their colleagues at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry to support the establishment of a university in Africa. A committee then worked for nearly three years on feasibility studies and conversed with African church leaders about educational and vocational needs.
A plan for the United Methodist-related university was presented to the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry in October 1987. Prompted by United Methodist plans to establish a continent-wide university in Zimbabwe where no private universities existed, President Robert Mugabe formed a government commission in 1987 to study the country's higher education needs and make recommendations about the role of private universities in the nation's overall education scheme.
At the 1988 General Conference, United Methodists overwhelmingly accepted the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry's proposal to begin the university. On the 6th of April 1991, thousands of people from throughout Zimbabwe watched as the groundbreaking ceremony took place and one acacia tree was planted at the Old Mutare Mission site of Africa University. In January 1992, President Robert Mugabe granted Africa University's Charter by official proclamation.