Values-Driven Education in Research, Teaching and Governance: The Catholic Identity and The Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) as a Model
Globethics.net's Executive Director Obiora Ike visited the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Nairobi, Kenya on 20 September 2017 where the Vice Chancellor Prof. Justus Mbae convened a meeting between him and the University Think Tank team. Msgt. Prof. Obiora gave a powerful speech entitled "Values-Driven Education in Research, Teaching and Governance: The Catholic Identity and CUEA as a Model."
In his opening remarks, the Vice Chancellor (VC) officially welcomed Monsignor Obiora to the Catholic University of Eastern Africa and introduced to him the members of the think tank. He pointed out that the mandate of the Think Tank was to come up with practical ways of ensuring that the university community lives the Catholic Identity which differentiates it from the other universities. He noted that the team had already come up with a way of inducting the new students into the new culture of the university. The VC informed the guest that the Think Tank was working on the re-launch of the Centre for Social Justice and Ethics in the university and emphasized the Centre's role in the dissemination of the social teaching of the Church.
Msgr. Prof. Obiora informed the think tank that the Catholic Identity must be used to distinguish the university from other Universities. In making the identity visible within and outside the region, the university must respond to the following key questions: Who are we? How do we live and implement who we are? To answer these questions, one requires to look at the whole world of philosophy. He pointed out that university has a mandate to teach, research and train. His talk revolved around the principles of Catholic Social Teaching in expounding their role in value driven education as expressed in research, teaching and governance. He highlighted four of principles namely, Subsidiarity (delegation of responsibility), Solidarity (collaboration), Common Good (responsibility to contribute to the good of the whole society/university in this respect) and Personality (based on the idea that the person is created in the image of God hence everyone has a dignity that must be respected). He added that the distinct features that should be visible in a Catholic University are Unity, Wholeness, Universality and Authority.
Msgr Obiora encouraged the Think Tank to strive to make all members responsible in their departments. In order to achieve this, members should ensure that ethics becomes the foundation of everything that is done in the university. He said, there is need to bring ethics into research. This requires tolerance, openness, humility (breaking the culture of pride) and respect. To achieve this they must be people of vision, illuminated and inspired by the Holy Spirit. They must be exemplary leaders and move from theory to practice. All must strive to be virtuous where they will be living values.
The VC of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa was present throughout the entire session that lasted two hours.