The Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, Dr. Manu Chandaria, the University Council, the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, the University Senate, the Management Board, faculty, staff, and students present, alumni present and members of the media present, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, Good afternoon.

It is a real pleasure to be with you today as Prof. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza donates his personal library to USIU-Africa. You might recall during his inauguration in April 2016, I had the privilege of welcoming him to USIU-Africa, and to Nairobi and Kenya, where he had already spent many years undertaken his doctoral research in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and later teaching at Kenyatta University in the 1980s. Today, as he prepares to leave after a term of transformative leadership at this renowned university, I am here to bid him farewell as we celebrate his exceptional charitable donation.

Through this collection, he will leave his indelible mark on the history of USIU-Africa. Charles W. Eliot, a prominent academic said that “books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” Indeed, when you look at Prof. Zeleza’s work as a renowned scholar and public intellectual, and even during his tenure at the University, there is no doubt that Prof. Zeleza, just like the books he is donating today, has been the most constant of friends, the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am proud to be part of this event today, as we receive Prof. Zeleza’s generous gift of his personal library, made up of approximately 10,000 books, journals, reports, and conference proceedings. The donated collection also includes his archives of personal papers and manuscripts of his voluminous publications. The collection, built over four decades in an illustrious academic and administrative career spanning six countries on three continents and the Caribbean region and a dozen universities, is valued at more than $1 million.

The pride of any university lies in its ability to engage in cutting edge research and USIU-Africa has remained committed to this cause in its years of operation. Through the donation of his personal library, Prof. Zeleza has demonstrated his dedication to the enhancement of the University’s learning and research capacities.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The books donated here today are a representation of Prof. Zeleza’s lifelong passion for promoting African knowledge production and cultivating the culture of philanthropy in African universities. It is our hope that this extensive collection will benefit generations of faculty and students and researchers from across Africa and elsewhere interested in the fields of African studies, diaspora studies, development studies, gender studies, environmental studies, cultural studies, globalization studies, economic history, intellectual history, creative works, and science and technology.

To the students of USIU-Africa, we hope that you will make good use of these books, and engage critically with the ideas presented within to find new ways of thinking that will shape not only your future, but that of the world as well. I urge you to keep nurturing the pleasure of reading and being open to learning, as it is through this that you will find new opportunities to make your dreams come true.

My dear brother and comrade, Paul, as you return to the diaspora where you’ve spent the bulk of your professional career, I know with this extraordinary donation of your personal library you have left your mind, heart and soul on the beloved continent of your birth whose bewildering complexities, contradictions and changes you’ve spent your entire academic career trying to illuminate. As you noted in a recent reflection on your departure, you are simply shifting locations in the interwoven geography of Africa’s global brain circulation.

Thank you and have a good day.

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