The ties that bind: Notre Dame official represents U.S. at Ugandan universities

Author: Brendan O'Shaughnessy

Pippenger gave the inaugural Senteza Kajubi Fulbright Memorial Lecture to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Makerere University.
Pippenger gave the inaugural Senteza Kajubi Fulbright Memorial Lecture to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Makerere University.

Michael Pippenger was pleasantly surprised by the opportunity in September to represent the United States as a citizen diplomat building ties to universities in Uganda, where Notre Dame has a long history.

The State Department's U.S. Speaker Program recruited Pippenger, Notre Dame's vice president and associate provost for internationalization, to speak about a topic close to his heart: the importance of global partnerships in higher education.

“I got an email completely out of the blue in the middle of August,” Pippenger said. “In particular, they wanted me to deliver a keynote lecture, celebrating the centenary of Makerere University.”

Makerere University in the capital city of Kampala is one of the oldest universities in sub-Saharan Africa, predating even the independence of the nation of Uganda. Pippenger also spoke at Uganda Martyrs University, a Catholic institution in Nkozi, and the new Lira University in the north, where the Lord’s Resistance Army had terrorized the region.