Kenya’s President Opens New Adventist University Library
The Seventh-day Adventist Church was praised May 28 for its leading role in promoting quality education to all in Kenya and the entire African continent. Kenya’s president Mwai Kibaki made the declaration at the opening of the Adventist University of Africa’s (AUA) Judith Thomas Library on the school’s campus in the Nairobi suburb of Ongata Rongai.
Kenya’s president Mwai Kibaki addresses the gathering at the launch of the Adventist University of Africa Judith Thomas Library. Looking on is Ted N. C. Wilson (right), president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.“I commend the Adventist University of Africa for championing one of the flagships of the social pillar by facilitating and promoting provision of education,” Kibaki said.
Ted N. C. Wilson, General Conference president, hosted the Kenyan head of state at the Advent Hill compound that is home to AUA and the East-Central Africa Division, underscored the Adventist Church’s commitment to equipping the university to enable it advance high-quality education as espoused by the universal Adventist beliefs in the context of education.
“The Seventh-day Adventist Church believes and remains committed to offering an education that is socially, morally, and spiritually enriching. The opening of this magnificent library is an attestation to that focus,” emphasized Wilson.
The colorful event was also attended by local administrators, politicians, and cabinet ministers that included Sam Ongeri, a Seventh-day Adventist Church elder; higher education minister Margaret Kamar, and member of Parliament George Saitoti, who is also minister for internal security. (Tragically, Mr. Saitoti sustained fatal injuries in a helicopter accident a few days after the event.)
The foundation stone for the Judith Thomas Library, a three-story building, was laid in 2005 by Kenya’s then-vice president Moody Awori with the initial US$1 million for the construction being a donation from Thomas, an American philanthropist. A further $1 million was mobilized through a special book project initiated by the late James Cress, then-secretary of the church’s Ministerial Association, with the General Conference providing the rest of the funding to complete the US$6 million facility.
The library will be home to an E. G. White Research Center that will house a special collection of books related to Adventist Church heritage; an African Heritage Center with relevant literature, art, and cultural artifacts as well as other related materials to aid research about Africa.
“The [library] subscribes to a number of online databases that provide full-text access to thousands of journals and books with a view to enhancing student research,” added vice chancellor Brempong Owusu-Antwi.
The library is furnished with fiber optic Internet connectivity, enabling wireless Internet access in all areas within the university campus to provide access to information and resources.
—Milton Nyakundi, Adventist Media Center, reporting from Ongata Rongi, Nairobi, Kenya