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UMC celebrates Africa University

caines | 6/27/2013, 5:30 a.m.

Recently, Dr. James H. Salley, the associate vice-chancellor for institutional advancement for Africa University, visited Ebenezer United Methodist Church (UMC) to discuss the success of Africa University an United Methodist-related university which educates about 2,000 students from 22 countries. The university was founded and is funded partly by the United Methodist churches and also by the money the University receives from tuition. The United Methodist Church has established more than 600 churches around the world and 124 in the U.S. The development of Africa University is a consequence of the growth of United Methodism in Africa. The growth in membership and the emerging socio-economic and political needs in their countries led the African bishops of the UMC to call on their church to invest in higher education provision in Africa. The Universitys goal has been to educate African people from an African perspective. Africa University, which started off with 40 students, recently held a graduation for 400 students, according to Salley. Salley who travels to Africa Universitys campus in Mutare, Zimbabwe, once every two months and sometimes more said the school offers the same courses and programs that you would receive at universities anywhere in the world. He said some of the popular courses are: administration, business and informational technology. According to Salley, when he speaks to churches about Africa University, they respond enthusiastically, because some are unaware of the university and they know that education is needed in Africa. Africa University celebrated its 20th anniversary in March. In 20 years, we have significant, phenomenal growth from the United Methodist Church and beyond, Salley said. We look for the same kind of growth within the next 20 years. While visiting Ebenezer, Pastor Joretha Capers surprised Salley by donating $1,000 of the $10,000 scholarship that the church endowed in memory of the churchs former pastor and his wife. It was quite a surprise and a much welcomed surprise, Salley said. I didnt go to raise money, but to thank the church for their support. Capers, who was a colleague of Salleys when she worked with the UMC Black College Fund, said that the University has broken many trends that occur on the continent. For example, in most African universities women attendance is only about 25 percent while women make up 52 percnt of the student body at Africa University. In addition, Capers said the university brings different tribes, who normally dont speak with each other, together for a common good and they build a brighter and better Africa. Capers said the University has developed leaders for all aspects, such as: preservation of the Earth, environmental protection and government and health services, which are desperately needed [on the continent.] I think Africa University is one of Gods greatest gifts to the UMC, to the world [and] especially to persons on the African continent. By Malika A. Wrightmwright@miamitimesonline.com