The vision for starting a Christian university in East Africa goes back to the 1990s as missionaries began to discuss the need for more formal leadership training. A number of us were discussing the need for such an institution in East Africa that could offer a higher education to the average East African family.
It would not be until 2006 in Mbale, Uganda, that missionaries there would begin the arduous task of laying the ground work with the Ugandan education authorities for establishing what would become known as LivingStone International University (LIU).
The current population of East Africa is over 370 million, based on the latest United Nations’ estimates. East Africa has a larger population than the United States’ population of 325 million. Uganda has a population of 36 million of which 70% are under the age of 24. Even more stunning is that 48.3% of Uganda’s population is 0 – 14 years old. From this young population, only 1.6 students out of every 1,000 people in Uganda are able to enter university studies, and only 4.4 students out of 1,000 people in Uganda are able to enroll in any kind of post-secondary studies, public or private. This is compared to about 100 for every 1,000 for most African countries. Kasozi, in a report entitled
Access and Equity to Higher Education in Uganda: Whose children attend university and are paid for by the State?” writes concerning the 4,000 state-sponsored students: “…studies in the 1990s showed that some 60 – 80% of Ugandan students who enter public universities for whom tuition and accommodation is paid by the state, come from wealthy families.
When it comes to higher education in Uganda, most students come from the Central Region (34.4%) followed by the Western Region (30.5%). The Eastern Region (18%) and the larger Northern Region (17%) make up only one third of all university students. This means students around Mbale have a reduced chance of entering university. The few students who do get to attend university are herded into large public institutions where class sizes are very large and resources spread thin.
There is a great need for a high quality Christian university in the Northeastern Region of Uganda. Such a university provides much needed educational resources. Uganda is highly religious as the following statistics indicate — Roman Catholic 41.9%, Protestant 42%, Muslim 12.1%, other 3.1%, none 0.9%. This points to the need for a Christian institution of higher education to provide opportunities for the growing population of youth to gain a university education.
LIU exists to transform Africa through quality, Christ-centered higher education through providing ethical, empowered, employable Christians in every sector of African society and even beyond. Our intention is to be a recognizably Christian institution known for integrity, perseverance, faithfulness, service, and love for all people. We aim for superior international standards for scholarship and achievement to facilitate greater employment opportunities at the highest levels. We direct our students toward God’s mission in the world, a mission of creating, healing, building, loving, teaching, serving, and saving for community transformation.
We ask for your prayers and support to fulfill this vision for God’s glory. Please feel free to contact us if you have potential students for LIU or if you would like to partner with us in providing a high-quality Christian education in East Africa.
LivingStone International University is by its founding and design committed to the democratic ideal within an African context and the university culture. This University is designed to provide a high quality and technologically sophisticated education to the underserved, diverse populations in East Africa and beyond. The University pursues a diverse student body and faculty from various nations and cultures so as to meet the demands and challenges of a democratic society which integrates and educates a varied population of peoples. The University strives to educate its student body to inculcate societal dialogue to foster respect and openness for all peoples’ cultures and societies.
The University provides high tech facilities to facilitate study and research that advances the democratic ideals related to ethical and intellectual development. It seeks the development of knowledge and its application to family, faith, government, service organizations, industry, commerce, technology, and the community for the 21st century.
Democratic ideals foster the recognition of and listening to voices of people from diverse cultures and from the marginalized of societies. LivingStone International University seeks to educate and inspire its graduates to purse these ideals in their chosen professions to serve everyone, especially those in danger of being excluded or under-represented in achieving a livelihood and a better life.
The University is committed to:
Professors, lecturers, and teachers participating in higher education in East Africa face many challenges for educating people for the 21st century. The most pressing needs are related to developing greater ethical and intellectual commitments, and fostering intercultural dialogue that seeks peaceful coexistence, interchanges of ideas, and reconciliation. Toward this end, LivingStone International University seeks to have its personnel partner in an intellectually dynamic and reflective environment that fulfills its vision for ethical, empowered, employable graduates for every sector of African society and globally. This, we believe, will foster the democratic ideal in areas less frequently exposed to the pursuit of such an ideal.
Terminology can be confusing when working in another country. For example, here in Uganda the President of a University is call the Vice Chancellor based on the British university system. The Vice Chancellor is the Chief Executive Officer of the University as with the “President” of a University in the U.S.
In Uganda a University has a “Chancellor” who does not have any executive powers but is the ceremonial head of the University. Even though this position carries no decision-making power, it is an important position for representing the University to various constituents to publicize and gather support for the University. For example, the last few Chancellors of Oxford were Earls and Barons. Chancellors are generally high profile political, business, and educational leaders who advocate for the University.
LIU’s Board of Trustees has selected a new Chancellor for LIU who has graciously accepted. His name is Prof. James Allen Gash, JD. from Pepperdine School of Law. He has a great deal of experience in Christian higher education and working in Uganda. Currently, he serves as the Associate Dean for Strategic Planning and External Relations. Starting in 2010, Jim periodically travelled to Uganda to help imprisoned juveniles to have access to justice. As the current Global Justice Program Director, Jim returns to Uganda frequently to work with the Uganda Judiciary. At the invitation of the Chief Justice of Uganda, Professor Gash is now the Specialist Advisor to the High Court of Uganda.
Professor Gash has been recognised for his commendable international work. He received the Warren Christopher Award in 2013 which is presented to California’s International Lawyer of the Year.
At the Pepperdine University campus Jim, his wife Joline, and their three children worship at the University Church of Christ where he serves as an Elder. The family also hosts a weekly Bible Study in their home for law students. There are great many scholarly publications that Professor Gash has produced that I will not begin to list. However, I highly recommend his popular book Divine Collision: An African Boy, An American Lawyer, and Their Remarkable Battle for Freedom. It gives a great insight into the Christian service he has been doing in Uganda and his heart for God’s work.
LivingStone International University welcomes Professor Gash as the new Chancellor. We look forward to his involvement in representing LIU.
Prof. Richard E. Trull, Jr., Ph.D.