Arabic Language Programmes: Expanding UNIMA’s reach

The University of Malawi, in a landmark move, is set to introduce Arabic language programmes, becoming the first public university in Malawi to do so. This development follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the university and the Darussunnah Foundation, in collaboration with Medelvagen. This initiative is part of UNIMA’s broader plan to establish a foreign language department within the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, which will offer programmes in Spanish, French, and other languages.

The memorandum was signed on 18th June, 2024, at the university’s boardroom by UNIMA’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Samson Sajidu, and Prof. Amjad Alhalaweh  from Medelvagen. Present at the signing ceremony were the Deputy Vice Chancellor Dr. Sunduzwayo Madise, the Executive Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dr. Emmanuel Ngwira, other representatives from Darussunnah Foundation, and other staff members from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Under this partnership, UNIMA plans to launch Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD programmes in Arabic Language and Culture. These programmes aim to enhance opportunities for Malawians in the global market, given Arabic’s status as one of the world’s most widely spoken languages. Furthermore, they will promote deeper understanding of the Arab world.

The Darussunnah Foundation will provide financial support for various aspects of the programmes, including curriculum development, recruitment and training of qualified lecturers, and the establishment and equipping of a dedicated Language Studies Centre, with a language laboratory.

During the signing ceremony, Professor Sajidu extended gratitude to the officials from Darussunnah for this great collaboration and he also commended Dr. Ngwira and School of Humanities and Social Sciences for the initiative. He further shared a presentation about the University of Malawi, detailing the history of the old UNIMA and explaining the vision and mission of the new UNIMA. He continued by elaborating on the schools within UNIMA and the programmes offered at the university. He also described some of the current developments including the new facilities UNIMA has constructed and others that are still under construction, including learning and teaching facilities.

Professor Alhalaweh expressed his gratitude to the University of Malawi for the exceptional hospitality and warm welcome. “We are here to celebrate the signing of the MOU, which will pave the way for establishing a new language department at this prestigious institution. This department will also contribute to the cultural enrichment of the entire community. Language is a bridge that connects people, cultures, and ideas,” he said. “We are committed to providing the necessary resources and support to ensure the success of this initiative.” 

He concluded by appreciating the leadership of UNIMA for their vision and commitment to expanding educational opportunities and fostering an inclusive educational environment, perfectly aligning with their organization’s values and mission. The meeting ended with participants taking a group photo.