2023-2024 – Academic year Inauguration

By Alfigio Tunha, OFM 

The Vice President of the Board of Governors Fr. Augustine Mwape OFM, Major Superiors and delegates of Various religious Orders and Congregations CMMs, SVDs, Passionists, OMIs, SDBs, OSBs, Diocesans, and The Dean and Vice Rector Father Lawrence Mondoka OFM Conventual, The Registrar, Mr. Chyabi Bbuku, All Lecturers, formators, administration and ancillary staff, SRC President and all the Subordinate committees, brothers, and lay students 

 All our distinguished guests, Good Morning 

Mine is a Reflection on the theme of the day: Sustainable Instruments of Peace in the World Threatened by Climate Change! 

This morning’s convention officially marks the beginning of the 2023-24 Academic year. It is, therefore, fitting that we mark it with a deserving awareness. Our particular operations and activities as an institution fit into a bigger context of the globe into which we daily thrive to safeguard our space. As we usher a temporal framework or a time cycle, it is essential that we do so in view of the universal perspective. It is no longer an issue restricted to certain echelons only but it has become a trending issue; climate change or global warming. No one can afford to ignore or be blind to its computations. What is awash in the newsrooms, social media, religious conventions, and above all in many scientific, political, and economic debates is nothing but climate change or global warming. Some might not be able to discuss the reality of climate variability eloquently but they are feeling its impact intensely. 

In the past and even currently, various conventions have been deliberating on the same issue and how it can be responded to both individually and collectively. Both theoretically and practically. In as much as there are calls to take action, there is equally a call to come up with the orthopraxis and methods to respond to the impending threat posed by global warming. 

As philosophers, we are not terraced in this campaign; neither are we nudged to the peripheries. We are instead invited to the fore together with those outstanding voices of different proponents from different walks of life. How can Philosophers make a viable and sustainable contribution to the fight against global warming? We are invited to use our philosophical persuasion to draw people to focus on the looming threat in a syllogistic manner. A more appealing form of thinking that is cleansed of biases and myths. In short, we are called to verify the logical correctness of global warming.  

On the other hand, philosophers are called to submit and admit that some of the traditional philosophical substructures and theories need to be reviewed and retested for their relevance. For instance, the 17th-century philosopher, Rene Descartes who is renowned for being the initiator of modernity, in his Cartesian ontology is known for establishing life sciences that were like the emerging physical sciences. In his philosophical submissions, he emphasized strongly the idea of an animal machine. This idea postulated that living things are nothing but just “inert matter organized in a complex way.” This consequently assumed that of all the mattered beings both living and non-living, only human beings have in essence a substantial soul of a distinct nature, thereby making humanity essentially the only respectable species among many. Implicitly, nature living and inert form part of the world of mere objects that are at humanity’s wanton disposal. 

Inquisitively, Descartes’ perception of nature is questioned. His disregard for nature is alleged to contribute to the promotion of the utilitarian use of the environment which has led to the current multi-threatening climatic prescriptions. 

As custodians and perpetuators of philosophical traditions, we are confronted with a reality that needs our honest

review, a reality that calls for a Copernican revolution.  The idea of promoting anthropocentrism is being challenged. Placing man at the center of ecology has proved futile. This therefore means that man needs to dislodge himself from the centre of the ecological underpinnings and place himself at par with all other members of the ecological web. A position where “a philosophy of totality that integrates humans with living organisms and inert beings as a whole without granting them the status of superiority.”  

In his philosophical reflection on Climate change, a Belgian philosopher and Biologist, Bernard Fritz asserted that “humanity is in a state of debt. Year after year it consumes more resources than nature can provide. This overconsumption has a direct effect on climate change…” Fellow humans, there is a looming danger that none of us can escape but at the same time, all of us can curb its impact. As a learning community of St. Bonaventure University, I invite you to take heed of this alarming call. Let us incorporate measures to mitigate global warming in all our operations. Let us have a friendly attitude towards planet Earth. As we sit down to research, let us research more on how best we can leave a viable legacy for future generations. Let us make sure that our time here will take matters of climate as a preferential option.  

As the year unfolds, be assured that this university will support you in your studies, in your religious formation, and in your general well-being. The teaching staff is ready to disseminate knowledge and the formators are geared to take you through all formative drills. The administration promises you their availability in all matters of progress. As we are marking the beginning of the second term of our mandate in administration, we wish to promise you that there will be progress in our studies. New systematic methods will be availed and we will continue to improve our infrastructure to meet your needs.  Our request to you is that you may be malleable during your time here and responsible learners and religious brothers.  May this academic year be a different one, let’s all make the best of what we get in contact with.  

I finally welcome all the first-year student brothers to this university. I officially hand over to you the academic and religious formation torch. I say to you all, Arise and shine for it is your time to do so. Remember fortune knocks on a ma

n’s door once in life. This is your chance, make use of it. To all the new lecturers, new formators, new administration staff and ancillary staff, I welcome you all. The same goes to all the returning students, the veteran lecturers and staff, I say aluta continua you are the ones who make this university great. 

With these words! I declare the academic year 2023-2024 Open!  

I thank you and God Bless you! 

Scroll to Top