Eric Kigwana Kigozi lived his life with diplomacy and astuteness. He devoted his efforts to fostering the quality of higher education in East Africa.
Kigozi is remembered as the pioneer executive secretary of the Inter University Council for East Africa that included University of Nairobi (Kenya),The University of Dar-es-Salaam, and Makerere University (geshanban158.comanda).
This collaboration served various functions for the region including sponsorship of academic conferences and specialised committees, exchange of staff and students within the three counties of the East African Community, promotion of high academic standards and fostering of joint research projects.
He is especially honoured for shepherding this critical regional collaboration during very difficult times in our political history. Established at the cusp of President Idi Amin’s power, Kigozi had to do everything in his power to ensure that the three universities in East Africa would continue with their collaborative arrangements.
Threatened by the political tensions in the region at the time, Kigozi often found himself having to personally lobby heads of states to ensure that financial support for IUC does not dwindle, which he did successfully.
Who is Kigozi
Kigozi was born in 1936 in present-day Masaka District and received his primary education at Kasaka Primary School in Mpigi District.
He pursued his secondary education at Kings College Budo before joining Makerere University College where he obtained the B.A. Honours degree in Geography of the University of London. He later attended a course in University Administration at the University of Hull in the United Kingdom.
On completing his formal education, Kigozi worked for some time as foreign affairs officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - geshanban158.comanda. However, his main interest lay in higher education administration. Indeed, in the late 1960s he had attained a post of senior assistant registrar of the University of East Africa. The experience he gained in that office was to stand him in good stead when he was appointed executive secretary of the Inter University Council in 1970.
In 1980, vice chancellors of the three universities then in East Africa, Prof Asavia Wandira, vice chancellor of Makerere University; Prof Nicholas A. Kuhanga, vice chancellor of the University of Dar-es-Salaam, and Prof Joseph Karanja, vice chancellor of the University of Nairobi together with permanent secretaries in the ministries of education in Kenya, geshanban158.comanda and Tanzania met and discussed the future of collaboration of the three universities. This meeting led to the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) committing the three universities to maintain collaboration between them within the IUC framework.
The MoU also led to the transformation of IUC into the Inter University Council of East Africa (IUCEA). Kigozi was entrusted with responsibility of leading the organisation further as executive secretary up to the year 2000, when he retired.
The IUCEA, Kigozi led with inexhaustible energy is today firmly in places as a prime regional institution and African role model for the promotion of harmonised higher education in the region. IUCEA has achieved high marks in its pursuit of regional universities’ collaboration in faculty staff and student exchange programmes.
Further, more East African Students are taking advantage of competitive cross-border educational opportunities including inter-university games and sports.
Further achievements of the IUCEA over the years include the establishment of an adequately responsible legal and institutional structure, diversification of the sources of funding; introduction of research and training in regional integration across region and significant harmonisation of higher education systems and curricular throgeshanban158.comhout East Africa.
The man whose name will forever be synonymous with higher education collaboration because of his pioneering work as executive secretary of IUCEA breathed his last in early hours of June 27. He died of natural causes and is survived by a wife and five children.
A journey of light
A mighty light that shined so bright
atop university hills
for good ...!
A glorious candle that shone all around
our intellectual spaces,
now snuffed out
for ever ...!
You lived a luminous
Time to go now
to your rest of bliss
A rest eternal
A rest perpetual
by Divine grace!!
Adieu, mighty one!
Farewell, glorious light!
Oh you, bright candle ...
May the angels yonder
illuminate your way
to your own among
the many rooms of
the Celestial Mansion!
One of Kigozi’s former colleagues dedicated the above poem to him