After a vote by the Rwandan national parliament, Dr. Margee Ensign, American-born President of the American University of Nigeria (AUN), was named last month to a task force establishing a new university system in that country.
Announcing her appointment on November 8, the Rwandan Minister of Education, Dr. Vincent Biruta, said that the task force would take steps toward the realization of the University of Rwanda by September 2013. Dr. Biruta said Dr. Ensign’s nomination is based on her expertise and broad knowledge of developments in that East African nation.
Rwanda has 14 scholarship students enrolled at AUN in the Fall 2012 Semester and has promised to sponsor at least 20 every year. President Ensign will be in Rwanda mid-December to sign an MOU with Minister Biruta for the scholarship students. She will also give two keynote speeches there: one on genocide prevention and another on transformational leadership and nation building.
Dr. Ensign has lived and worked in East Africa, including Rwanda, for many years and has co-authored a seminal book, Rwanda: History and Hope, which documents the country’s rebuilding since the 1994 genocide.
The third President of AUN, Dr. Ensign began her administrative career at Columbia University, New York. There she combined roles of Professor in Politics and Economics with Director of the International Political Economy Program.
From Columbia, she became Director of Tulane University’s International Development Program that offers advanced programs at Masters and PhD levels in International Development. She also taught as Visiting Professor at both Georgetown and American Universities, in Washington, DC.
She came to AUN in 2010 from the University of the Pacific in California where she was Dean of the School of International Studies and Associate Provost for International Initiatives.
Dr. Ensign is a widely published scholar with research interests in the challenges of international development as well as implications of development assistance. Some of her works highlighting global effects with regard to development include: Doing Well or Doing Good: Japan’s Foreign Assistance Programs, and Private Bank Lending to Developing Countries.
Dr. Ensign won two awards in 2011 and this year from African Leadership magazine for guiding AUN in becoming Africa’s first Development University, whose goal is to educate the future leaders and problem solvers of the continent.
Minister of Education Biruta said that the new task force is, “…expected to improve coordination among existing public institutions…encourage innovation and flexibility in the delivery of higher education and research, foster strengthened partnerships with external organizations, improve accountability in the operations of public higher education, and most importantly, to improve the quality of higher education in Rwanda.”
President Ensign, in accepting this new responsibility, commented: “I am honored to have been chosen for this important task force and look forward to the vigorous exchange of ideas and experience and the chance to help in the continued remarkable growth and transformation of Rwanda.”