My Makerere-Fulbright Story

Thank you for inviting me to share my “Makerere story,” which exists because of two Fulbright grants that allowed me to be part of the Economics staff at Makerere. ”  Prof. William notes.

The first was for the 1994-95 academic year when the Economics Department was part of the Faculty of Social Sciences.  I taught a number of different economics courses to both undergraduate and post-graduate students and was a reader on a number of MA theses. 

Both professionally and personally, this experience was one of the most enjoyable and transformative years in my entire life. I developed a new and intense interest in the economics of development which permanently changed my career focus.  I also developed a number of friendships at Makerere and in Kampala that are still strong today.

Foremost among these is (now retired) Amb. Arsene Balihuta, who generously shared his office with me for the entire year.  Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu, Department Head at the time, was also very welcoming and helpful throughout the year.  In fact, the entire economics staff made me feel at home.

Prof. William (Bill) Herrin & Dr. Arsene Balihuta at the Faculty of Social Sciences Makerere University 1994/95

Dr. Balihuta and I continued some research work after the year ended, so I applied and was awarded a second Fulbright grant to what was the Institute of Economics at Makerere for the 1999-2000 academic year.  Dr. Ddumba and the rest of the staff again welcomed me back as a member of the Institute. 

Because of these Makerere friendships, I was able to invite Dr. Balihuta to my home institution, the University of the Pacific in Northern California, as a Visiting Professor of Economics (1997-98) and again as an Ambassador in Residence in our School of International Studies in 2014, where he taught and engaged with the university community in many other ways. 

“ My Makerere story includes the students I taught, whom I remember with great fondness and appreciation for their kindness and their effort.” Prof. William adds.

They worked hard and persevered, many times under difficult circumstances.  They set the standard for student effort and quality I still hold, and for that I am most grateful. I thank them all for giving me two of the most meaningful teaching years of my career.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve returned to Uganda in the past 20 years.  I’ve returned to continue research.  With the help of Ms. Grace Bulenzi Gulere, whom I taught at Makerere, I brought Pacific students for internships at the Uganda Bureau of Statistics from 2016 through 2018.  

I’ve returned to attend friends’ weddings and I plan to return again in 2023 simply for a visit.  This is all the result of my time at Makerere.  So that is my “Makerere story.”  It is a most gratifying one.

“ Congratulations to all at Makerere University on the occasion of its 100-year anniversary.  I wish all concerned another 100 years of excellence and success.” Prof. William congraculates Makerere University.   


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