March 23, 2017

New Adventist University Inaugurated in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Seventh-day Adventist Church added one more university to its growing list of over 100 institutions of higher learning around the world, with the official inauguration of the Adventist University of West Congo, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in late January. The new school, based in the capital city of Kinshasa, is expected to train ministerial students that are much-needed in the area, said regional church leaders.

The school, which had been educating students as an extension of the Lukanga Adventist University in northeast DRC, has now received government authorization, and is now pursuing accreditation through the Adventist Accrediting Association (AAA), acknowledged Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, education director of the world church. “The Adventist Accrediting Association is working together with the ECD and Adventist University Lukanga to make its extension center in Kinshasa a separate university,” she said.

In his remarks during the inauguration ceremony, Blasious Ruguri, president of the East Central Africa Division (ECD), or church region, based his message on Genesis 1:1-4, when on the first day of creation, God said: “Let there be light,” reported ECD News. With DRC Minister of Higher Education and Universities Steve Mbikany watching, Ruguri compared the symbolism of God’s act with the new educational reality in the city. “Just as God dispelled darkness on the first day of creation, the Adventist Church is determined to do away with darkness in Kinshasa,” he said.

Now, the doors of opportunity are open to hundreds of potential ministerial students in the region.

On behalf of the national government, Mbikany congratulated the Adventist Church leaders on the achievement, while at the same time urging them to aim higher. “I encourage you to strive for quality and higher standards, in order to quickly get government accreditation,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the ECD education director, educator Noah K. Musema reminded that there could be no better investment than the education of children if one is to prepare for the future of the nation and the church. At the same time, however, he quoted French writer and scholar Francois Rabelais, who wrote, “Science without conscience is the ruin of the soul,” as he urged leaders to train good citizens for this life and the life to come.

Meanwhile, Adrien Vyambwera, education director in the West Congo Union Mission, where the new school is located, unfolded the history of the youngest university in the territory. Vyambwera shared that it had been the desire of the world church to have an institution of higher learning in the area since the time it was known as Zaire, but the government would not allow it. Ministerial students from the region had to go to study in north-eastern Congo, Rwanda or Nigeria, and only a few could afford to travel those long distances and pay for their studies.

Now, the doors of opportunity are open to hundreds of potential ministerial students in the region.

Beardsley-Hardy said that an ECD Higher Education Consultation is scheduled to take place in Lukanga from June 28-30, 2017, in what could be one more defining moment for Adventist education in Africa. Presidents and vice-chancellors of universities in the division and church leadership “will confer to discuss how to strengthen the capacity of higher education,” she said. The goal is “to prepare young people for lives of service and mission throughout the region.”

With reports from Prince Bahati, ECD News