Centre for International Health
inter-institutional collaboration

30 years - let's celebrate!

A delegation from the University of Bergen (UiB), travelled to Makerere University (Mak) in Kampala, Uganda, to celebrate 30 years of inter-institutional collaboration.

Makerere 30-year cele
At the reception in the Vice Chancellor’s garden following the 30 Year Celebration 7th November, 2019. Dr. Sylvia Antonia Nannyonga-Tamusuza organised Mak students in a music and dance performance. Steina Sætre (UiB, clarinet) also performed.
Andrea Magugliani

Main content

UiB Pro-Rector, Margareth Hagen, UiB Assistant Director, Tore Tungodden, and the Vice Dean of the Medical Faculty, Marit Bakke, represented UiB leadership at a week-long celebration held at Mak. (read more from the Mak website) Numerous UiB faculty also attended, or were already present due to project meetings or research stays including: Thorkild Tylleskär, Bente E. Moen, Tore Sætersdal, Sven Gudmund Hinderaker, Toril Salen, Steinar Sætre, Leif Manger, Ingunn Marie Engebretsen, Andrea Felde, Halvor Sommerfelt, and Hans Steinsland among others.

UiB-Mak leaders
Andrea Magugliani

(from left) Tore Tungodden, Barnabas Nawangwe, Margareth Haugen, Tonny Oyana, Marit Bakke
*Prof. Tonny Oyana is the Principal for the College of Computing and Information Science at Mak.


A remarkable journey

In his opening remarks, the Mak Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, thanked Norwegian Ambassador, Elin Østebø Johansen, for continuing to cement the warm and cordial relationship that has existed between Mak and Norway. He highlighted the 4 Makerere buildings that Norway has been instrumental in funding (School of Forestry, Environmental & Geographical Sciences, School of Women and Gender Studies, School of Computing and Informatics Technology Block A, and Department of Food Technology and Nutrition). 

“Right from the start, the spirit of collaboration between our two institutions has been focused on capacity development for Makerere University, and not just on research.”
Mak Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe

UiB Pro-Rector, Margareth Hagen, explained that partnerships open doors and create opportunities. She said that the Mak-UiB Collaboration Programme is the longest international relationship at UiB. Hagen underlined that UiB selects for quality when choosing partners and collaboration projects. She highlighted the broad, multi-disciplinary nature of the Mak-UiB collaboration. While originally just a few disciplines were involved, today’s projects with Mak involve all the Faculties at UiB. 

Ambassador Johansen saluted the “mature” relationship that has developed between Mak and UiB and underlined the important social consequences of such educational endeavours. 

Read more about their speeches from the Mak News website.

leaders and ambassador
Andrea Magugliani

(from left) Margareth Haugen, Elin ØstebØ Johansen, Barnabas Nawangwe


Collaboration is conversation, partnership, dialogue and relationships

Prof. Edward Kirumira was the celebration’s keynote speaker. Prof. Kirumira was the Academic Coordinator of the Mak-UiB Collaboration Programme from 2004-2018.  He is now Director at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) in South Africa.

Prof. Kirumira said that there are 3 lessons to learn from long-term, inter-institutional partnerships such as the Mak-UiB Collaboration Programme. (Read more.)

  1. Network within first to ensure internal cohesion
  2. Mutual beneficiality ensures longevity
  3. This collaboration is a desirable and replicable model

Prof. Edward Kirumira
Andrea Magugliani

Prof. Edward Kirumira


Mak-UiB Collaboration Programme

The Celebration Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Isaac Okullo, summed up the Mak-UiB Collaboration Programme using the Rotarian Creed:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?


SDG 4: Education for all

Uganda has been working for many years to increase educational opportunities for Ugandans. The celebration of 30 years for the Makerere University – University of Bergen Collaboration was preceded by a  SDG 4 and Youth Dialogue with a panel discussion under the theme: “the role of inter-institutional partnerships in attaining education for all and national development”. The SDG 4 seminar was presented by the UiB Alumni Network, which is led by Andrea Magugliani. Read some interviews with Mak-UiB Alumni.

It is estimated that up to 2000 Ugandans have undertaken their studies at a Norwegian higher education (HE) institution! More than 450 have received their training (Master or PhD, or both) at UiB. After a panel debate the students participated in a “speed-dating” mentoring activity with many of the alumni, and staff from Mak. 

SDG debate Mak
Andrea Magugliani


Ready for the next 30 years

Both, Vice Chancellor Nawangwe and the Mak-UiB Academic Coordinator from UiB, Thorkild Tylleskär, stated several times during the various meetings held this week that the collaboration is going strong – it has matured to a partnership between two strong universities and is looking ahead to the next 30 years!

“What started as a mentorship has evolved into a powerful mutual partnership”
Mak Academic Coordinator Dr. Ronald Semyalo

Semyalo explains that today Mak takes on a role as a kind of hub for young, growing HE institutions in East Africa. Mak now mentors universities such as Gulu University and Busiterna University, in Uganda, and the University of Juba in South Sudan.


Student and staff exchanges

Through the collaboration, about 150 Mak staff have acquired PhDs and nearly 300 Master degrees. This training continues today, although the capacity-building from this collaboration and others means that today candidates are also taking their degrees through the Mak-UiB Joint Degree Programme, or at Mak itself.

Every year a number of medical and psychology students from UiB participate in internships during the elective semester of their medical training at UiB. Susan Byekwaso at Mak’s Internation Coordination Office does a wonderful job organising the student visits. Learn more from their website. Byekwaso visited UiB, January 2019 – Read more (in Norwegian).

Tylleskär underlines the value of the clinical experience the students have during their stay. For example, he says, they might experience 1 or 2 live births during their entire medical training at UiB, while at the obstetric  unit at the University Hospital associated with Mak, they might see 30 a day!

Uganda is an ethnically diverse country. The differences between the major language groups is so large that the common language for most Ugandans is English! The Vice Chancellor underlined that student and staff exchanges enables participants from both nations to be more globally conscious by having a better understanding of different cultures.

The collaboration has also supported the exchange of senior administrative staff to UiB to take specialised courses and to experience “best practice” routines at UiB. 

UiB-Mak coordinators
Andrea Magugliani

(from left) Ronald Semyalo and Thorkild Tylleskär


Competency strengthening

In his address to the SDG conference, Mak Academic Coordinator of the Mak-UiB Collaboration Programme, Dr. Ronald Semyalo, underlined that all of the candidates who went to UiB came back to Uganda. Many of the alumni graduates returned to take up leadership positions at Mak and other African universities. Others have taken up positions in government, ministry departments and other leadership positions in Uganda where they are now taking active part in policy decision-making in Uganda, and are also responsible for training the next generation of leaders.

Mak choir
Andrea Magugliani

The Mak choir sang at the Celebration

“The true measure of success for any academic or institutional collaboration is the impact it has on the lives of the people involved.”
Mak Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe



See a video with highlights about the successful 30-year collaboration.

Film celebrating the collaboration's first 10-15 years (in Norwegian: En annleis afrikansk forteljing / A Unique African Story)