HIV & AIDS and Masculinity

As a highlight of the Founders’ Week activities of the United Theological College of the West Indies in Papine, the college has invited the Rev. Canon Dr. Gideon Byamugisha - an HIV & AIDS-infected Ugandan Anglican Priest - to be a special guest and presenter during the celebratory week from March 4 to 11, 2013. His presentation will be on Thursday, March 7 during the Continuing Education Workshop, which will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Gideon Byamugisha

His trip to Jamaica is being sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC) as part of its prior activities for its 10th Assembly, to be convened in the Republic of Korea in October, 2013. This is Canon Dr. Byamugisha’s second visit to Jamaica, having previously been a guest of UTCWI in 1992, when he shared experiences of his work on HIV & AIDS with clergy, church workers and seminarians.

Canon Dr. Byamugisha, was the first religious leader in Africa to publicly disclose his HIV-positive status in 1992, with the objective of breaking the silence, stigma, shame, denial and discrimination that is usually associated with the illness.

He is the founder of the African Network of Religious Leaders Living & Personally Affected by HIV & AIDS and the author of six books on HIV & AIDS. His advocacy work in this field has seen him receiving numerous national and international awards, including the 2009 Laureate for the prestigious Niwano Peach Award and Prize of Japan. In addition, he is the recipient of awards from the Parliament of Uganda; World Vision International; Stromme Foundation of Norway; Friends of the Global Fund and The Cross of St. Augustine (2012), which is the second highest award from the Anglican Communion presented by Lambeth Palace and The Archbishop of Canterbury to lay and ordained leaders for distinguished service to humanity in the field of religion, spirituality and mission.

Canon Dr. Byamugisha is currently a scholar-in-residence at St. Paul’s University, Kenya, pursuing private studies on “HIV Positive Theological Ethics: An Autobiographical Approach.” He is married and has three biological children.

According to the President of UTCWI, Rev. Dr. Marjorie Lewis, the Canon’s visit is in keeping with UTCWI’s HIV & AIDS intervention project, the objective of which is to equip Caribbean faith-based communities with the tools to develop and implement HIV & AIDS programmes for advocacy and awareness, as well as for prevention, care and support.

“It has been recognised that faith-based organisations are among the socialising agents in society and have the responsibility to influence behaviour that is appropriate, while providing accurate information that can contribute to reducing the risk of HIV infection,” she noted.

The theme of this year’s UTCWI’s Founders’ Week activities is “Caribbean Theology: Ecumenism In The Context Of Empire”. During Founders’ Week, the college will seek to recognise Rev. Ashley Smith, a former President of the College, as well as the 25th anniversary of the graduating class of 1988.

The UTCWI Founder’s Week events will kick off on Friday, March 1 with a UTCWI Students Association Youth Forum, billed “A Weh Wi Deh?”. The following day will see a Seminar on Child Evangelism, with presenter Dr. Cynthia Anderson, Director of Christian Education Department of the Jamaica Baptist Union, McGrath High School, while an Open Day will take place at the College Campus on Monday, March 4, followed by a Worship Service at the UWI Mona Chapel at 6 p.m. that day.

On Tuesday, March 5, there will be a review of the work of the Rev. Ashley Smith, former President of the College will be conducted by Rev. Dr. Glenroy Lalor, Lecturer in Church History and Pastoral Studies at UTCWI, followed by a keynote lecture by Rev. Dr. Michael Miller, Associate Professor of Systematic and Philosophical Theology, Director of Cross-Cultural and International Programes, Christian Theological Seminary, ending with reflections by Rev. Ashley Smith. There will be a lunch time meeting with UTCWI Alumni on Wednesday, March 6, followed by sporting activities with alumni playing against theologues that evening, Professor Lawrence Bamikole, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy in the Department of Language, Linguistics and Philosophy, University of the West Indies, Mona and graduate student of UTCWI, Sonya Lyttle will make presentations on the Maroons.

The United Theological College of the West Indies as a Christian academic institution, seeks to provide theological education in an environment that promotes spiritual, emotional and social development for students in the Caribbean, Central America and internationally. The purpose of the College is to prepare men and women for mission and service and to promote theological study and learning.

END
Contact:

Rev. Dr. Marjorie Lewis, President of UTCWI
Tel: 927 1724