Good morning! Happy New Year! On behalf of USIU-Africa, it is my great pleasure to welcome all of you, parents, guardians and students to the week-long orientation program for Spring Semester 2016. I know this is a special day for the parents and guardians who have entrusted us to educate your loved ones. It is certainly a special day for the students, who chose to join this remarkable university, an intellectual community that will nurture and nourish your intellects, equip you with the knowledge, skills, and competencies for productive personal and professional lives once you have completed your studies. It is also a special day for me, as this is my first day as Vice Chancellor of this extraordinary university.

I believe the reasons you chose to join this fine university are no different from mine. USIU-Africa is a unique institution with a robust mission that seeks to provide a rigorous and transformative education, located in one of Africa’s great global cities. It enjoys distinction for being the first private secular university accredited both in Kenya and the U.S. It is therefore a truly transnational institution that provides the best of African and American higher education. USIU's vision and mission reinforce this uniqueness. USIU-Africa seeks to be a premier institution of academic excellence with a global perspective.

We strive to promote among our students three core values: the discovery and application of knowledge; the acquisition of skills and development of intellect and character; and prepare them to contribute effectively and ethically as citizens of a changing and increasingly technological world. We try to achieve this through high quality programs that promote five goals:

  • High order thinking: the ability to think critically, analytically, and creatively;
  • Competence in oral and written communication as well as scientific, quantitative, and technological literacy;
  • Global understanding and multicultural perspective by developing awareness and appreciation of both the diversity and commonality of cultures;
  • Preparedness for career through formal study and various experiential forms of learning such as internships and field experiences;
  • Development of ethical standards and leadership skills which will guide their professional and personal lives;
  • A sense of being part of a community and a desire to be of service to it;
Our educational values, mission, and goals are greatly enhanced by our location in Nairobi.As the nation’s capital, and a pan-African and global city, Nairobi provides enormous opportunities for student's learning, faculty research and scholarship, and institutional outreach and engagement.

Orientation ceremonies and activities are always heart-warming for me as an administrator,teacher, and scholar.It gives us an opportunity to welcome new members of this exceptional university,to renew our bonds as an educational community, to affirm our enduring values and commitment to providing all our students a rigorous, integrated,and transformative education that will serve them for life in their respective communities, nations, and the world at large.

As a university we are all about students. We prepare our undergraduate and graduate students for achievement and leadership in various fields including business, science and technology, pharmacy and health sciences, and humanities and social sciences. We are an institution with a passion for learning, for deep, integrated, engaged and self-directed learning among our students; an institution with dedicated teacher-scholars who are experts in their fields, who care profoundly about their students, who seek to develop every talent and gift every student brings to us.

Our mission, values, size, location and amazing history of growth and innovation give us incredible strengths to meet the opportunities and challenges facing contemporary higher education in Africa and around the world; to articulate a value proposition of an USIU-Africa education that is distinctive and enjoys distinction in the crowded and competitive market and rapidly changing landscape of higher education.

This extensive orientation program shows the reasons why: as a community we believe in our students, we are committed to educating them for successful careers and lives of meaning and engagement in the 21st century, a century marked by exceedingly complex demographic, economic, social, cultural, political, technological, scientific, and occupational changes, a world that demands continuous learning, nimbleness, and creativity, a world that punishes those who stand still, whatever their past achievements.

This orientation program is the promissory note of the social contract with our students, our promise to them as young people, to their families, and the society at large that we are committed to sharpening their intellects and sensibilities and nurturing their humanity and potential by cultivating the essential knowledge, skills, competencies and literacies they need for the world of the 21st century.

We seek to, and as will be evident when the students graduate, we largely succeed in cultivating the intrinsic, intellectual, instrumental and idealistic values of learning in the various professional and science, humanities, and social science disciplines that we provide. These include criticaland creative thinking skills, written and oral communication skills, quantitative and scientific reasoning skills.

We also seek to, and succeed in providing our students the invaluable literacies of the contemporary world—interdisciplinary literacy (the ability to see phenomena and solve problems from multiples disciplinary or analytical angles), intercultural literacy (the ability to understand and navigate different cultural and social realities and relationships); international literacy (the capacity to understand the complex interconnectedness of the world’s nations, economies, societies and challenges); and information literacy (the ability to locate, evaluate and use information which continues to explode effectively).

In short, we are uniquely positioned to produce liberally educated professionals and professionally prepared liberal arts students, to cultivate graduates with the international, interdisciplinary, intercultural, and information skills and sensibilities necessary to navigate an ever morecomplex, connected, and competitive world.

Once again, it is with great pleasure that I welcome the parents, guardians, and new students to this week’s orientation program. We all made a wise choice in joining this great university that will serve us well in the years to come. Thank you!

Prof. Paul T. Zeleza

Vice Chancellor