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Irish missionaries take governing roles at Kenyan university

Bishop Maurice Crowley and Father Patrick Devine appointed to Tangaza University College's council

Matt Moran

Matt Moran

Published: July 30, 2020 04:46 AM GMT

Updated: July 30, 2020 04:58 AM GMT

Irish missionaries take governing roles at Kenyan university

Father Patrick Devine (third from right) after delivering a lecture at DePaul University in Chicago. (Photo supplied)

Two well-known Irish missionaries ministering in Africa have been appointed to the first governing council of Tangaza University College in Nairobi, Kenya.

Tangaza College was established in 1986 as a constituent college of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa and has now gained university status.

It has its roots in the Catholic tradition planted and nourished in Eastern Africa through missionary endeavors. It has students of many faiths and ethnicities from Africa and numerous countries around the world. 

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Bishop Maurice Crowley, a member of St. Patrick’s Missionary Society, is a native of Berrings, County Cork, and was appointed bishop of the Diocese of Kitale in 1998. At that time, the new diocese had just 16 parishes with 15 priests, but today it has 34 parishes with 68 priests.

He has played a leading role in expanding education facilities throughout the diocese, which now has over 500 Catholic sponsored primary and secondary schools. He is a member of the council of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa.

Father Patrick Devine, a member of the Society of African Missions, is a native of Frenchpark, County Roscommon.

He set up the Shalom Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation in Kenya in 2009. His efforts in peace building started attracting international recognition when he was awarded the 2013 International Caring Award, joining recipients that include the Dalai Lama, former US president Jimmy Carter, Mother Teresa and Senator George Mitchell. In 2014, eight countries in Eastern Africa presented him with the prestigious IGAD Award for his visionary contribution to peace and development in the vast region.

Father Devine is a regular guest speaker at leading universities in the USA, including Harvard and DePaul. He is an adjunct faculty member and honorary senior research fellow at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for Conflict Intervention at Maynooth University.

He has been lecturing at Tangaza College for over 10 years. Prior to that, he served on the college’s previous board for 12 years and was its deputy chairperson. He holds a doctorate of philosophy in political science and public administration, a master’s degree in peace studies and international relations, and is certified in corporate governance training.

“I am honored to be appointed to the first council of Tangaza University College, and I look forward to contributing to its governance and administration,” said Father Devine.

“The mission of the college is to provide an all-round quality education in an environment which promotes freedom and responsibility, excellence in teaching and learning, research and scholarship, ethical and integral development in service to society.

“The college strives for the integral formation in the physical, intellectual, moral, social and cultural dimension of its students. What I really like is that the skills of bringing about social transformation and justice for the poor and oppressed are integrated into every aspect of the educational process at the college.”

Irish-born Father Oliver Noonan also lectures on peace studies at Tangaza University. He is the country director of Shalom, an interreligious organization pioneering conflict resolution, peace building and development interventions in strife-torn regions of Eastern Africa. Its mission is to work towards a society free of physical violence and unjust social structures.

Matt Moran is a writer living in Cork in Ireland. Author of “The Legacy of Irish Missionaries Lives On,” his forthcoming book is “The Theology of Integral Human Development”

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