Ambassador Brian Nichols Delivers a Lecture to Africa University Military Chaplaincy Doctoral Students

 Africa University was honored to have the United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols visit the main campus as a guest lecturer on the 9th of January 2020 and present insightful lecture on leadership to the Military Chaplaincy doctoral class.

The Doctor of Ministry in Military Chaplaincy program is a joint initiative by Africa University and Wesley Theological Seminary whose focus is on equipping Africa’s security services chaplains with critical skills that promote and ensure relevant, effective and efficient discharge of their respective pastoral and related functions. The current class comprises students from Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia and Botswana’s security services.

To ensure quality learning and promote a balance between theory and practice, the Africa University’s Institute of Theology and Religious Studies periodically invites seasoned practitioners to share their perspectives and experiences with the military chaplaincy doctoral students and it is under this arrangement that Ambassador Nichols was invited to share his perspectives on ‘leadership’.

In his presentation, Ambassador Nichols focused on key elements that form the bedrock of effective leadership and his emphasis was on the importance of vision, integrity, clarity of thought, love for the people, courage, as well a projection of emotional and physical energy in chaplaincy and other functions in general.

Responding to various questions on U.S.-Africa relations during the interactive session, the Ambassador reiterated the strong desire by the American people to promote and ensure good governance and humanitarian development on the African continent. He emphasized that Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular is blessed with a variety of natural and human resources which if effectively utilized through eliminating corruption and bad governance, are capable of reshaping the continent’s development discourse.

The Ambassador challenged the security services chaplains to utilize their strategic moral and pastoral authority and to shape institutional values and ethical standards within the organisations they work with and in this way influence leadership trajectory across the continent.

Present during the public lecture was the Africa University Vice Chancellor, Professor Munashe Furusa who during the interactive session emphasized the need for leaders to focus on developing solutions to African challenges and establishing institutions that are capable of holding each other to account. He emphasized the critical role of shared governance, shared responsibility and shared accountability in ensuring growth and sustainability of institutions.

Prof. Furusa reiterated the strategic positioning of Africa University to effectively influence Africa development discourse considering that students in the university in general and the military chaplaincy program in particular are drawn from across the continent.

He expressed his gratitude to the people of America for the support they have given to the university over the years and expressed his wish to see such partnership growing to touching every aspect of university life, from infrastructure development to delivery of academic and professional training. He thanked the Ambassador in particular for visiting Africa University for the second time in 8 months.

Story by Edius Makono
10 January 2020