Harvest Intercontinental Launches University -Dr. Johnson: “Institution Will Reduce Poverty and Sufferings”
The Harvest InterContinental Church on last weekend launched a Christian University, the Harvest Intercontinental American University (HIAU) which is expected to start operations in October, 2022 at a colorful virtual ceremony held at the Corina Hotel in Monrovia.
Welcoming participants at the program, the first Bishop of the Harvest InterContinental Church, Dr. M. Wolo Belleh said he was excited in a special way to be part of the project the Harvest Intercontinental Ministries Unlimited in partnering with the government and other stakeholders to fight the challenges being experienced by young people in their quest to access quality education in the country with the recent incorporation of the institution in the United States of America.
He said that in February this year, while meeting with Dr. Darlington C. Johnson, Presiding Bishop of the Harvest Intercontinental Ministries Unlimited, he suggested the need for the church to invest in a Christian university to be operated by the Church and the Bishop who has been passionate about quality education, bought into the idea and in few months the thought has come to fruition with the plan to establish the institution in the country.
“A huge milestone is about to be accomplished for the young people whose dream for quality education is being hindered by the lack of opportunities to climb the ladder of education. I am talking about the establishment of the Harvest Intercontinental American University in Liberia”, Dr. Belleh said. He said besides providing quality education, the institution will also offer entrepreneurial training to afford graduates to acquire skills in owning and operating businesses of their own so as to solve the problem of unemployment in the country.
While introducing the university to the audience, Dr. Kona – Facia Nepay, the Chairman of the Bishop Darlington Johnson Education Mandate (BDJEM), the organization charged with the responsibility of conceiving and bringing to stream the project of establishing the university said that on a personal note since she came in contact with the church, she has received inspiration and testimonies that have to do with life changing experiences, one of them is through the area of education.
Dr. Neepay who spoke via zoom from the United States said that HIAU, when it starts operations in the country will change the trajectory of higher education and also provide the right platform for evangelism in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. “Today I am thrilled by the rave of participation from our partners, individuals and institutions to provide life changing education”, she said.
She said the university will provide both liberal and science education which will include courses such as, English, sociology, accounting, economics, management, public administration, information technology, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, etc, from its colleges of business and public administration, liberal arts and science and technology.
Also speaking via zoom was Dr. Majoria Adams, a Professor at the Morgan State University, who is also a member of the Bishop Darlington Johnson Education Mandate (BDJEM), said it was an honor to be part of the dream of HIUA and was very passionate and optimistic that the institution will live to the expectation of what it was created for.
Dr. Johnson, who read a press statement on the project also via zoom extended thanks and appreciation to all those who have come to be part of the initiative of HIUA being undertaken by the Harvest Intercontinental Ministries Unlimited. He said he was aware that one of Liberia’s significant challenges is limited access to quality education at all levels and added that sadly, that challenge poses one of the greatest threats to the future of the country and the most significant contributor to the growing socio-economic problems the nation faces every day.
He noted that the high poverty level the country continues to experience year after year, along with its associated maladies – an almost non-existent health care system that is resulting in untold suffering and very many unnecessary deaths yearly, an increased and ever-growing crime rate as people who cannot support themselves turn to devious and unlawful means to obtain the things they need to survive, escalating public corruption, deplorable living conditions , just to name a few, are directly related to the very inadequate access to quality education our nation is experiencing.
“Harvest Intercontinental American University is being established to reduce this level of poverty and suffering that exists not only in Liberia but in many nations in sub-saharan Africa. Our mission is to help bridge the enormous educational gap between what is and what ought to be, between what exists and what is needed in education in underdeveloped parts of the world. We imagine a world where no one lives or dies without access to quality education. The good news is that we have decided to begin in Liberia”
He said HIAU is organized as a non-profit 501(c3) Corporation, with International headquarters located at 16227 Batchellors Forest Rd, Olney, Maryland 208832 and expects to expand rapidly throughout sub-saharan Africa. He said the university will solicit funding through grants, donor institutions, charitable donations from philanthropic institutions, and individuals desiring to help make an impact in higher education in this part of the world, adding that additional revenue will come from fees charged to students to help cover the cost of operating the institution.
“The University is being organized for the sole purpose of providing access to quality tertiary academic and vocational education to students living in underdeveloped nations. It will empower this generation to produce leaders for future generations. We will focus on the development of the whole person-spirit, soul and body. Our goal will be to graduate students who are academically qualified to secure the best jobs available, but more importantly, who are trained and infused with an entrepreneurial spirit that will empower them to be able to start their businesses and become job creators, employers offering jobs to others within their chosen fields”, Dr. Johnson said.
The vision bearer of the project said he recognizes that if his institution is to fulfill this vision of a world, or a Liberia, where no dies without access to quality education, they will need to take full advantage of emerging technologies that will permit students in Liberia to have access to professors and courses, regardless of where those students live and those courses are offered. He said this is where the internet and e-learning capabilities come into play and will form a major part of their strategy to get the best education they can to as many as they possibly can.” We intend, therefore, to operate both physical and virtual campuses. Students will take most of their classes online, listen to lectures, and participate in courses taught by highly qualified professors living in Liberia and the United states”, he said.
“We are aware of the challenges of depending on the Liberian environment to facilitate our e-learning strategy. We assure you we are taking these challenges very seriously and are looking for innovative ways to address those concerns. We are thinking outside of the box and relying on experts in internet technology and e-learning to develop workable solutions”, Dr. Johnson noted.
He said through their partnership with Oral Roberts University, students will access the same quality education students living in the United States have.
He spoke of the academic standing and quality education being provided by Oral Roberts University, which will profoundly impact positively on services that will be offered at HIAU. “Oral Roberts University (ORU) was recognized by the prestigious Wall Street Journal to be among the elite-ranked universities in the nation for student engagement. This year, Oru placed fourth in the 2022 Wall street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings. The rankings for 2022 showed ORU tied for fourth with the University of Michigan, Purdue University, Baylor University, Cedarville University, Brigham Young University, University of Notre Dame, and the University of Southern California”, he said.
Fundraising remarks came from individuals in the United States and Liberia among whom were Reverend Lawrence Kennedy, Harvest Intercontinental Atlanta National Overseer, Reverend Maima Moore, Mr. Allen R. Brown Jr, Founding Advisory Board member who donated USD2, 000, Dr. Julius Laggah, Bishop 2nd Diocese and Reverend Professor Jonathan Taylor, Dean of the Graduate School, University of Liberia while Mrs. Chrys Johnson, wife of Dr. Johnson made special thanks.
Efforts are now underway to have full accreditation from the Government of Liberia through the National Commission for Higher Education (NCHE) so as to enable the institution to start operations by next year.