The first batch of 51 students of the Pan African University Institute for Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences (PAUGHSS) graduated with Master of Arts (MA) degrees at a ceremony held at the Palais des Congrès in Yaoundé, Cameroon. After three years of postgraduate studies research and internships in their respective disciplines, 41 graduating students received MA degrees in governance and regional integration jointly conferred by the Pan African University (PAU) and the University of Yaoundé II, whilst the remaining 10 students received MA degrees in Conference Interpreting and Translation, jointly conferred by the PAU and the University of Buea. The graduating students, who come from 16 different African Union Member States, constitute the third batch of students graduating from the PAU, an African Union educational flagship programme seeking to expand the frontiers of higher education, research and innovation in the continent.
Top officials of the Government of Cameroon, the diplomatic and academic community in Yaoundé and Buea, as well as development partners, attended the graduation ceremony. The African Union Commission was represented by: Prof. Tolly S. A. Mbwette, President of the PAU Council; Dr. Jean Gérard Mezui M'ella, Director of the AU Inter-African Phytosanitary Council Office in Yaoundé; Dr. Mahama Ouedoraogo, Ag. Director, HRST; Prof. Belay Kassa, Interim Deputy Rector, PAU; and Dr. Yaw Nyampong, PAU Senior Legal Officer. It marked a significant milestone in the drive towards actualizing the foundational ideals of the PAU and generated enormous regional and international focus.
Speaking at the ceremony, Prof. Tolly S. A. Mbwette, President of the PAU Council, expressed gratitude on behalf of the African Union to the Government of Cameroon and the two host institutions of PAUGHSS, the University of Yaoundé II (Soa) and the University of Buea as well as other Cameroonian and African universities, for their unparalleled collaboration and cooperation with the African Union Commission in the implementation of the PAU project. He placed particular emphasis on the Government's continuing commitment and its numerous efforts in preparation to receive the Rectorate of the PAU, which, by virtue of a 2015 Decision of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU, will be permanently headquartered in Yaoundé.
In his keynote address, Prof. Jacques Fame Ndongo, the Minister of Higher Education of the Republic of Cameroon and Chancellor of Academic Orders, charged the graduating students to go forth as ambassadors of Africa and serve as agents of change, using the knowledge and training they have obtained. He thanked the African Union for the trust reposed in the Cameroonian higher education system as evidenced by the selection of Cameroon to host PAUGHSS and the PAU Rectorate. Professor Ndongo underlined the unflinching commitment of the Government of Cameroon to sharing its legacy in higher education with other Member States by supporting continental initiatives such as the Pan African University.
The PAU was established in 2010 by a Decision of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, with a view to developing institutions of excellence in science, technology, innovation, social sciences and governance, which would constitute the bedrock for an African pool of higher education and research. It strives to stimulate collaborative, internationally competitive and development-oriented training and research, in areas having a direct bearing on the technical, economic and social development of Africa.
Hosted by the University of Yaoundé II and the University of Buea, PAUGHSS offers MA programmes in governance and regional integration, conference interpretation and translation, with plans to introduce many more programmes in the MA as well as PhD streams in the short and medium term.