The historic graduation of the first cohort of students of Unicaf University in Zambia was broadcast on the 27th of November 2020 on Zambian TV and on the University’s social media. This major milestone for Unicaf University in Zambia was held online, to comply with current restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A hundred and ninety four graduates of Unicaf University in Zambia celebrated their academic achievement, together with their friends and families. They come from forty different countries: Zambia, the Gambia, Nigeria, Malawi, Tanzania, Mauritius, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Romania, the Russian Federation, Switzerland, Germany, Morocco, Iraq, Liberia, Botswana, Thailand, South Africa, Cameroon, Namibia, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, The Kingdom of Eswatini, Papua New Guinea, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Barbados, Somalia, Rwanda, Mali, Mozambique, Lesotho, Cambodia, Jamaica and Afghanistan.
The first cohort of the University’s students graduated in the Master of Laws, Master in Education, Master in Business Administration, Master of Public Administration, Master of Science in Healthcare Management, Master of Science in Managerial Psychology, Master of Science in Web Design and Development.
The Master of Ceremonies, Unicaf University faculty Mr Mushima Muke, welcomed the graduands, their families and friends from across the globe, who were watching the Graduation Ceremony on TV or online, and invited the Chancellor’s procession to enter the Ampitheatre of the University’s state-of-the-art Lusaka campus.
The ceremonial proceedings commenced with the inauguration of the University’s first Chancellor, and former Vice Chancellor, Professor Mpazi Sinjela. The current Vice Chancellor, Dr Christine Phiri Mushibwe, expressed her respect for the work Professor Sinjela has done in establishing Unicaf University in Zambia and referred to the Professor’s international legal and academic career, including prestigious appointments with the United Nations organisation in New York, USA, the World Intellectual Property Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland and reputable universities in Sweden, Italy, Switzerland and Africa.
After his inauguration, Professor Sinjela expressed his gratitude for serving as the first Vice chancellor and first Chancellor of the University. In his address to the students he commended the graduands’ endurance and dedication to their studies, and he added: ‘In our professional and personal quests, we should always strive to apply and follow what we have been taught. Your graduation today marks the beginning of a promising new future. By applying your newly acquired knowledge correctly and consistently, you will not only help to accelerate the development process in your country, but you can also make a difference, which may continue to benefit generations in the future.’
Professor Sinjela paid tribute to Unicaf University for increasing access to higher education at an affordable cost, thereby contributing to national and continental development. And he urged the graduands to aspire to attain the highest level of education they can, so that they can be competitive in the global workplace.
The Guest of Honour, the Honourable Minister for Higher Education Dr Brian Mushimba, congratulated the graduands via video link from his office at the Ministry. He said that the Education sector has been badly affected by the pandemic and he commended Unicaf University for continuing to operate normally, thanks to its state-of-the-art Virtual Learning Environment. Dr Mushimba then referred to Zambia’s Seventh National Development goal “to create a diversified and resilient economy for sustained group and socio-economic transformation”, which can only be driven by educated, responsible individuals who are resourceful, inventive, inspired and forward thinking. He concluded with these words of advice to the graduands: ‘Unicaf University has provided you with an internationally recognised qualification. Now, take that great achievement, use your knowledge and make your own special individual mark on the world, in whatever way you can!’
From the Unicaf Headquarters in Cyprus, the Vice Chancellor Federal of Unicaf University, Dr Kevin Andrews, offered his sincerest congratulations to the graduands and said: “Tertiary Education plays a vital role in fostering global awareness, in promoting democratic values such as critical questioning, understanding complexity, embracing tolerance and promoting empathy. The value of higher education to society cannot be overestimated.’
Dr Andrews mentioned the University’s response to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on the on-going provision of quality higher education, fostering decent work opportunities and economic growth, aiming to reduce inequalities. He also referred to the appointment by the UN Secretary General of Professor Nyovani Madise, Chairperson of the Unicaf University Advisory Board, as co-author of the 2023 UN Global Sustainable Goals Report.
Distinguished entrepreneur Dr Lawrence Sikutwa, Chairperson of the LSA group of Companies, was the inspirational speaker at the ceremony. He spoke to the graduands about the importance of entrepreneurship and advised those planning to be self-employed to have motivation and self-esteem, to understand the risks and assess their abilities. He said that they must find a good idea, for which there is a market, and that they should not rush to borrow money to start their business, but start small, with contributions from friends and relatives.
Dr Sikutwa continued: ‘ As an entrepreneur allow your mind to run wild a little, to imagine the impossible, just as people like Steve Jobs did. Imagination allows you to see the possibilities and potentialities around you. I advise you to take the opportunities you see very early, before the window of opportunity closes. Entrepreneurs are drivers of change, they are original thinkers, they are innovators, creators of new products and services, drivers of economic development and providers of employment’. The inspirational guest speaker congratulated all graduands for their achievement and advised them to dream big, dream right, start small and turn dreams into reality!
In her address to the graduates, the Vice Chancellor of Unicaf University in Zambia, Dr Christine Phiri Mushibwe concentrated on the importance of character in supporting and enhancing all that an individual achieves in life. She emphasised that ‘The unique character of Unicaf University was put to the test during the pandemic and came out with flying colours. While other universities were desperately seeking alternative ways of teaching and learning, we continued to serve our students through online delivery, without any disruptions. Proving to the world that online learning is the future of higher education. That is the kind of unique character we want you to emerge with from your studies. A solid character that stands the test of time. A character that will push you to invent, innovate and develop new ideas. A character compatible with genuine and effective leadership in different sectors of life.’
Representing the group of Zambian graduands, Mr Nelson Tembo said that due to pressure at work and financial constraints, he thought going to University to pursue a Master’s would have been impossible. Until he discovered Unicaf University, offering flexible online learning and generous scholarships. He added: “I am confident that the Master’s qualification and the skills I now possess have added value to my CV and will enhance my career. I am ready for higher and more demanding positions and prepared for any new challenges the future may have in store for me. I want to thank Unicaf University for the flexible and efficient online learning system, the well-structured modules, the knowledgeable and attentive tutors and my fellow students from different countries who offered their different perspectives.’
Ms Saffiatou Darboe from Gambia, spoke on behalf of the international group of graduands, via video link from her country. She said in her speech: ‘For most of us, especially full-time working parents, this is a dream come true, a major milestone we have achieved in our career and in our life. Our future now looks definitely brighter. This degree serves as a propellant for growth and opens up great career opportunities for us all. So, as we launch into the world as Master’s degree holders, let’s be the change we want to see in our world! Let’s believe that anything is possible, if we set our minds and our hearts to it.”
The Vice Chancellor announced that the prize to the MBA graduand with the overall highest performance is awarded to Emmanuel Ofosu Antiri from Ghana. The award, comprised of a tablet and a commemorative plaque, which will be sent to Emmanuel in Ghana, was received, during the Ceremony and on behalf of the winner, by NelsonTembo, the only graduand physically present.
The Graduation Ceremony culminated in the announcement by the Acting Dean of Students Dr. Attridge Mwelwa, of the names of all the graduands, who were awarded Master’s degrees. The Chancellor of Unicaf University Professor Mpazi Sinjela, who was called to the podium to confer the degrees, once again congratulated the University’s first graduates for their success and hard work.
The ceremony was concluded with the Chancellor’s procession exiting the University’s Amphitheatre.
The historic graduation of the first students of Unicaf University in Zambia was broadcast on the 27th of November 2020 on Zambian TV and on the University’s social media, to comply with Covid-19 restrictions. 194 Master’s degree graduates in 40 countries around the world, celebrated their achievement.
The proceedings commenced with the inauguration of the University’s first Chancellor, Professor Mpazi Sinjela, whose illustrious legal and academic career, includes prestigious appointments with the UN, the World Intellectual Property Organisation and universities in Europe. Professor Sinjela underlined to graduands that by applying the knowledge they have acquired correctly and consistently they can help accelerate their country’s development and benefit future generations.
The Guest of Honour, the Honourable Minister for Higher Education Dr Brian Mushimba, congratulated the graduands via video link from his office. Dr Mushimba said that Zambia’s Seventh National Development goal, “to create a diversified and resilient economy for sustained group and socio-economic transformation”, can only be driven by educated, responsible individuals, who are resourceful, inventive, inspired and forward thinking.
From the Unicaf Headquarters in Cyprus, the Vice Chancellor Federal of Unicaf University, Dr Kevin Andrews, congratulated the graduands and stressed that tertiary education has a vital role in fostering global awareness, and in promoting democratic values, tolerance and empathy. He also referred to the University’s response to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on providing quality higher education, and fostering decent work opportunities and economic growth to reduce inequalities.
Distinguished entrepreneur Dr Lawrence Sikutwa, Chairperson of the LSA group of Companies, spoke to the graduands about the importance of entrepreneurship. He advised them to allow their mind to run wild with ideas, just as people like Steve Jobs did, and to notice the possibilities and potentialities around them. He added that entrepreneurs are drivers of change, original thinkers, innovators of new products and services, drivers of economic development and providers of employment.
In her address the Vice Chancellor Dr Christine Phiri Mushibwe focused on the importance of character in enhancing achievements. She emphasised that the unique character of Unicaf University was tested and proven during the pandemic, when it continued to serve its students through online delivery without disruption, proving that online learning is the future of education.
Representing the Zambian graduands, Mr Nelson Tembo thanked the University for the flexible and efficient online learning system and the opportunity to learn from knowledgeable lecturers and interact with fellow students in many different countries.
Speaking on behalf of international graduands, Ms Saffiatou Darboe from Gambia, described the Master’s degree from Unicaf University as a propellant for growth, which opens up great career opportunities.
The prize to the MBA graduand with the overall highest performance was awarded to Emmanuel Ofosu Antiri from Ghana.
The Ceremony culminated in the announcement of the names of all the graduands, with the Chancellor conferring the degrees, and congratulating the first graduates of Unicaf University in Zambia for their success and hard work.