With over four decades on the continent, Jesuit Father Mike Schultheis has devoted himself to providing Catholic higher education across Africa including stints in Uganda and Tanzania. In the 1990s, he taught economics at the Catholic University of Mozambique, established its first graduate degree and founded a research and documentation center. He also was the first president of the Catholic University of Ghana. All of his previous educational apostolic work led him to his latest initiative of opening the Catholic University of the Sudan two years ago.
With educational opportunities in Sudan being among the worst in the world and adult literacy below 30 percent, Schultheis realizes that the Catholic University of the Sudan is a critical component in moving the country forward after almost 25 years of civil war. The founding of the university also comes at a critical time for the nation as it prepares for a historic vote in 2011 to decide if Sudan stays united or becomes two countries.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference established the Catholic University of the Sudan as a centerpiece of their national program to help the country recover from decades of violence, famine and mass displacement of people. The vision for the university and its development goes back even farther, to half a century ago, soon after Sudan’s independence from Britain in 1956. The idea for the university was discussed again when former Sudanese president Jafaar Nimeiry met with Pope John Paul II in Rome in 1983, just months before a civil war broke out in the county and dashed the university project yet again.
“The Catholic University of the Sudan, as a national institution, is a dream long deferred,” explains Schultheis. “
You can read more about the new Catholic University of the Sudan here. You can also watch the interview with Fr. Schultheis on the progress of the Catholic University of the Sudan produced by National Jesuit News last year when the school launched its second faculty of agricultural and environmental sciences in Wau.