Adventist University of Africa Moves to Embrace the Whole Continent

Kenya-based school has been authorized to offer a graduate degree in French.

Marcos Paseggi, Adventist Review
Adventist University of Africa Moves to Embrace the Whole Continent
Adventist University of Africa is located outside Nairobi, Kenya. The school offers master’s and doctoral degrees to students from across the African continent. [Photo: Adventist University of Africa]

“Our mission is to support your mission at every level of the church,” Adventist University of Africa (AUA) vice chancellor Vincent Injety said at the beginning of his report during the West-Central Africa Division (WAD) Year-End Meetings on October 30. The meetings, held in Ikot Ikpene, Akwa Ibom, Nigeria, gathered scores of Seventh-day Adventist leaders, administrators, special guests, and invitees for three days of voting on reports and initiatives and planning for 2024.

“The reason our mission is to support your mission is not just giving you moral support; it’s not lip service,” Injety emphasized in his report. “We want to see how we can support your work so that we can have competent, effective, and caring ministers and leaders of the church who can do the mission of the church effectively,” he said.

AUA, based in Ongata Rongai, Kenya, currently has 483 students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees, Injety reported. Out of those, 112 students come from WAD countries. The largest WAD groups come from Ghana (57 students), Liberia and Nigeria (16 students each), and Cameroon (12 students).

A Ministerial Life-Changing Initiative

Injety reminded WAD representatives that of the 54 countries on the African continent, 21 are in the francophone region. “It has been our desire in the last few years to offer qualifications in the French language so that our pastors who are in the grassroot level and our leaders in various levels of the church will minister to the laity and will participate in evangelism are ready in terms of commitment, knowledge, and desire to serve,” he said.

One of the reasons AUA has not had many French-speaking students is that instruction takes place in English, Injety said. But the AUA administration worked with Kenya’s Commission on University Education (CUE), and after long and hard work, the Adventist institution has been accredited to offer a Master of Divinity in French, he reported.

“CUE has approved for AUA to teach in the French language,” Injety said. He added that the school has already recruited three professors, and it will start offering the degree on the campus of Cosendai Adventist University in Cameroon. Classes are scheduled to start in February 2024, he said.

How AUA Supports Mission

At the same time, AUA, in partnership with church leaders, is offering a Master in Missiology for three pastors in each union, so they can serve as frontline pastors in the countries within the 10/40 Window, that region where most people live but where Christians are a minority.

“We want to thank the division for coming along and supporting and participating in this venture,” Injety said. “I believe that the offer of our programs in French and this new offer in missiology that will help pastors reach people… in the context they are living in [and] will make a difference in the church.”

Leaving a Mark

In the last part of his report, Injety shared some data about AUA students, noting that the school, which is organized primarily around its seminary, has an 86 percent male student population. Also, 96 percent of students are Adventist members, and only 34 percent are church-sponsored (the remaining 66 percent are self-sponsored students). He also shared that presently, their most popular programs are the school’s Master of Divinity, Master of Arts (biblical and theological studies), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), and Doctor of Ministry (D. Min).

Injety also reported that after a May 2023 visit of government accrediting bodies, the institution received a quality audit certificate for the next five years. “By the grace of God, the recommendations they gave do not conflict with the program of the church,” Injety said. In fact, “they are very appreciative of the standards AUA is maintaining.” The institution hopes to become a benchmark in higher education in the country, he said.

For 12 years, AUA has offered a master’s in public health, and many people were asking when a doctoral degree in the area would be available. Now a doctorate in public health has been authorized, Injety reported. And plans are underway to offer the Master of Divinity in Portuguese, another language spoken in several African countries.

Injety also shared that on average, AUA graduates 70 students a year with master’s and doctoral degrees. Since the first graduation in 2008 (AUA opened its doors in 2006), the school has graduated 925 students, including 320 students from the WAD, he said. The school is poised to reach its thousandth graduate in 2024.

“Our motto is ‘Developing Leaders for Service,’” Injety reminded WAD leaders, “and by the grace of God, we have a plan and we will be guided to accomplish the mission of the church.”

Marcos Paseggi, Adventist Review