The College of Humanities and Social Sciences last evening, 19th December 2018 recognized and bid farewell to Prof. Edward K. Kirumira at a colourful ceremony held in St. Augustine Students’ Centre. At the same occasion, the College recognized members of staff that have retired from University service.
He will be leaving Makerere in January 2019 following his appointment as Director of the prestigious Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS). He will succeed Professor Hendrik Geyer who completes his final term as STIAS Director at the end of 2018.
Prof. Kirumira will be the first black African to Head STIAS. According to Desmond Smith, Chair of the STIAS Board of Directors, the Selection Committee was impressed by Prof. Kirumira's vision for STIAS to further enhance the quality of the core research programme, to vigorously expand the Iso Lomso programme focused on the next generation of African scholars and leaders and to make STIAS an academic and intellectual hub in service of the continent and research globally. “We warmly welcome him to the STIAS family. He has the full support of the Board of Directors and we look forward to the next phase of the Institute's growth under his leadership."
In an interview following his appointment, Prof. Kirumira said: “It's scary but a great privilege to hold this position. I want to bring to STIAS a passion for scholarship but also a passion for situating that scholarship within an institutional structure. I come from a position of building higher education institutional capacity from both an academic and administration view. If you don't have good governance it's difficult for scholarship to flourish."
Speaking at his farewell party, Prof. Kirumira appreciated everybody for the support rendered to him during his time at Makerere University “I would like to appreciate my immediate supervisor, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and his predecessor, Prof. John Ddumba Ssentamu for the support they provided at different levels. I also thank the Chancellor, Prof. Ezra Suruma who appointed me, the Chairman Council, Eng. Dr. Charles Wana Etyem and all members of Council and Management for the explicit and implicit support accorded to me,” he said.
Prof. Kirumira specifically recognized his family for the moral and physical support.
He also recognized members of staff at CHUSS for the cordial working relationship. “I say without hesitation that it has been a great pleasure to serve as the first substantive Principal of CHUSS and to work with colleagues; the Deputy Principal, Deans, Heads of Department, Academic, Administrative and Support staff to move the College to the level where it has a fully- fledged cohort PhD programme now boasting of 27 registered PhD students from Uganda and the rest of Africa. This is in addition to the MISR PhD programme and the individual PhD students,” he noted.
During his tenure as Principal of CHUSS, Prof. Kirumira has registered a number of achievements. 28 members of staff have been promoted from Senior Lecturer to Professorial rank, 17 from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer and 43 from Assistant Lecturer to Lecturer position. Prof. Kirumira has extensively fundraised for the College and the University. CHUSS is now a recipient of several training and research grants and its grant portfolio now exceeds US$20 million. Several memoranda of understanding have been signed and have greatly boosted institutionalization and networking. Under Prof. Kirumira’s leadership, the College witnessed the establishment of the Confucius Institute, the AfriChild Centre, the Julius Nyerere Leadership Centre and the E.A Centre for Research in Social Work.
Prof. Kirumira appealed to his successors to extend the debate of human resource development beyond money and provide opportunities for staff to grow. He also appealed to them to work towards establishing Centres of Excellence, Chairs and Thematic Research groups. He pledged to continue supporting the College to grow to greater heights.
In his remarks, the representative of the Vice Chancellor, Dr Umar Kakumba congratulated Prof. Kirumira “upon the well deserved appointment”. Highlighting his many contributions nationally and internationally, Dr Kakumba noted that Prof. Kirumira was one of the ‘rare species’ Makerere University had produced over its 96 years of existence. “Prof. Kirumira is a very good son and ambassador of Makerere who has attracted a lot of partnerships and grants to the University. I therefore thank the leadership of CHUSS for according him a befitting farewell.” Dr Kakumba praised Prof. Kirumira as a person with great humility despite his many accomplishments.
The Acting Principal of CHUSS, Dr Josephine Ahikire, thanked Prof. Kirumira for the cordial working relationship and the great services rendered to CHUSS and the University at large. “I wish to recognize the special management and networking skills exhibited by our outgoing Principal. I have had a peaceful working relationship with Prof. Kirumira and I have enjoyed his mentorship and expertise. As you join STIAS, we pray that you continue providing technical guidance to us. We now consider STIAS a branch of CHUSS because we have our own there,” she noted.
Dr Ahikire also appreciated members of staff that have retired for diligently serving the University. Members of staff who retired recently include Dr Katono Nzarwa, Prof. Deborah Kasente, Dr Ssamula Mathias, Dr Alex, Nkabahona, Mr. Mwambutsya Ndebesa, Dr Simon Peter Ongodia, Dr Edith Okiria, Dr Olum Yasin, Mr. Michael Nzerewe, Ms. Namugwanya Josephine and Mr. Wilberforce Kyeyune.
Like other speakers, Prof. Kirumira’s predecessor and longtime colleague, Prof. Oswald Ndoleriire appreciated the cordial working relationship. He thanked Prof. Kirumira for the support rendered towards the development of the Confucius Institute at Makerere University noting that it had been named the Confucius Institute of the Year globally.
The Chairman MUASA, Dr Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi saluted Prof. Kirumira for his enormous contributions to Makerere University. “I have known Prof. Kirumira as a man who has continuously attracted scholarship even for disciplines that face extinction and has always supported MUASA activities. We thank him for raising the Makerere flag high and wish him the best in his new appointment,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the academic staff in the College, Prof. Peter Atekyereza, Head Department of Sociology and Anthropology highlighted a number of lessons learnt during his interaction with Prof. Kirumira. Some of the lesson are, (1) Age matters when you make your value equivalent to your contribution, (2) Nothing is impossible when you work as a team because every support counts, (3) Keep your eyes and ears open because opportunities come to the vigilant, and (4) It is very important to learn through actions of other people. Prof. Atekyereza thanked Prof. Kirumira for always being available when they needed him.
Ms. Angella Byangira who spoke on behalf of the support staff in the College described Prof. Kirumira as a father figure who nurtured and treated them as his own children.
On behalf of the retirees, Dr Katono Nzarwa and Ms. Josephine Namugwanya appreciated the support rendered to them during their time at Makerere University. Dr Katono challenged members of staff to always respect the institution by doing things correctly.
The occasion featured a number of activities including a poem performed for Prof. Kirumira in appreciation of his contributions, presentation of gifts to Prof. Kirumira by members of staff and students from various units of the College, presentation of certificates and plaques to Prof. Kirumira and the retirees as well as cultural performances by staff and students from the Department of Performing Arts and Film.
Dr Patrick Mangeni chaired the organizing committee for the ceremony and was the MC of the day together with Dr Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala.
About Prof. Kirumira
Prof. Edward K. Kirumira is Professor of Sociology and outgoing Principal of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere University in Uganda, a position he has held for five years. Before that he was the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences for eight years.
He studied at the Universities of Makerere and Exeter, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He obtained his PhD in Sociology from Copenhagen University in collaboration with Harvard University. He specialized in population and reproductive health, and has done extensive interdisciplinary research on HIV/AIDS, emergent diseases and international health issues, health-seeking behaviour, poverty and rural-development studies. He has published widely in local and international scholarly journals.
Included among many prestigious national and international appointments, Prof. Kirumira is a member of the Partnership Committee for HIV & AIDS, Malaria and TB National Response of the Uganda AIDS Commission; a Fellow and immediate past Treasurer & Council member of the Ugandan National Academy of Sciences; and, Chairperson of the Academy's Forum on Health and Nutrition and the Forum on Prevention of Violence Against Children. He chaired the Programme Development and Resource Mobilisation Committee of the Uganda Central Co-ordinating Mechanism for the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria country programme for several years and since August 2017 is the Chairperson of the Board of the Uganda Central Co-ordinating Mechanism for the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria.
He has carried out consultancies and technical assistance in programme development and project design, management and evaluation in many African countries including South Africa (where he contributed to the development of the government's AIDS programme), as well as the United States, Mexico, Denmark and the United Kingdom. He has led or been part of several technical teams on behalf of the World Health Organization, the Global Programme on AIDS, the United Nations AIDS Programme, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund, the Danish International Development Agency, the Swedish government, the Norwegian government, the US National Academies of Science and the Ugandan government. He is also a founder member and chair of the Partnership for Africa's Next Generation of Academics (PANGeA) and member of several research networks in Africa including CODESRIA, OSSREA, and ResearchAfrica.net, as well as networks in Europe, North America and Asia.