The 2023/2024 Scholar Council hands over to newly-elected Scholar Council at handover ceremony

By Brenda Odhiambo

On Friday, May 31, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at USIU-Africa hosted the Scholar Council handover ceremony, which marked the transition of leadership from the 2023/2024 Scholar Council to the newly-elected 2024/2025 Scholar Council. In attendance at the event were Dr. George Lumbasi, Chief Admissions Officer; Mr. Eannes Ongus, Director of Advancement and Partnerships; Ms. Linet Aguko, Program Director; and representatives from the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at USIU-Africa.

The half-day event saw the outgoing Scholar Council, led by Rashid Wamela, hand over the reins to the incoming team. The new Council members include Jacob Yen as the Scholar Council Chair, Lydia Arime as Vice President, Owiti Collins Onyango as Finance Advisor, Joyce Auma Ogalo as Scholar Support, Henry Muli as Inclusion Representative, and Lesala Philip Monaheng as Community Engagement Representative.

In his farewell address, the outgoing Scholar Council Chair, Rashid Wamela, highlighted the numerous accomplishments of his Council, including significant strides in leadership enhancement, improvement of Scholar events, meals and stipend enhancement, inclusion, and entrepreneurship and transition. He encouraged the new Council to build upon these successes and continue advocating for the welfare and interests of the Scholars.

“You are poised to build upon our achievements, address pending issues, and continue advocating for the welfare and interests of Scholars. By fostering a culture of inclusivity, innovation, and excellence, the Scholar Council will no doubt create an environment where every Scholar can thrive and contribute meaningfully to the community and beyond,” he said.

Ms. Linet Aguko, Program Director, congratulated the newly appointed leaders, expressing confidence in their leadership abilities.

"As you embark on this journey of service and leadership, I want to extend my warmest wishes to you. I have full confidence in your abilities to lead with integrity, empathy, and vision. Remember, you are not alone in this journey. Lean on each other for support, collaborate, and empower one another to achieve your shared goals. Together, you have the power to create a lasting legacy that will positively impact the Program for years to come. I look forward to seeing the incredible things you will accomplish as you lead the Scholar body over the course of the year,” she said.

In his remarks, Dr. Lumbasi emphasized the importance of strong leadership and urged the new Council to maintain a high standard of excellence.

"Leadership is about serving others and making a positive impact. As a Council, you must listen to the voices of those you represent and make decisions that reflect the collective good. Your integrity, dedication, and vision will set the tone for your term. Strive to be leaders who inspire trust and confidence. Lead with a sense of purpose and a commitment to excellence. I am confident that you will continue the great work of your predecessors and take the Scholar Council to new heights," he noted.

Dr. Lumbasi’s sentiments were echoed by the Director of Advancement and Partnerships, Mr. Eannes Ongus, who underscored the significance of collaboration and community engagement in leadership.

"Successful leaders are those who recognize the strength in diversity and the power of collective effort. As you take on the mantle of leadership, focus on building strong, collaborative relationships within the Scholar community and beyond. Engage actively with your peers, listen to their concerns, and work together to find innovative solutions. Your leadership will be measured not just by what you achieve, but by how you inspire others to reach their full potential."

The event ended with an address from the new Scholar Council, who pledged to making a difference in not only within the Scholar Council, but within the wider student body, noting that they were committed to leading with authenticity, upholding the Council’s values and principles.

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