VIU Welcomes International Human Rights Advocate Jackson Kaguri

October 28, 2014 - 10:45am

Can one person make a positive difference in the world? They absolutely can, according to international human rights crusader Jackson Kaguri.

Founder of the Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project and author of “A School for My Village”, Kaguri will deliver a free public talk entitled “Innovative Ways to Change the World” at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Conference Centre on Wednesday, Nov. 5 at 7 pm.

Recognized in Time magazine’s “Power of One” Series, Kaguri has spoken to the United Nations about his work.

His Nanaimo visit is part of Vancouver Island University’s (VIU) World VIU Days, a week-long celebration of international education at the University’s Nanaimo campus Nov. 3 to 7.

“We’re thrilled to have Jackson Kaguri join us for this special celebration,” says Mackenzie Sillem, coordinator of World VIU Days. “He visited Nanaimo in 2010 and everyone fell in love with him. He’s such an engaging and motivating speaker. I encourage the public to come hear his inspiring message and attend other free World VIU Days events at the University’s Nanaimo campus.”

Born and raised in Uganda in the small village of Nyakagyezi, Kaguri has devoted his entire life to human rights advocacy. While attending Makerere University in Kampala, he co-founded the human rights organization, Human Rights Concerns, to help victims of human rights violations in Uganda and educate the public about their rights.

In the 1990s, Kaguri became a visiting scholar at Columbia University where he studied Human Rights Advocacy. Over the years, he has been involved extensively in international community efforts as a human rights advocate, fundraiser and inspirational speaker.

In 2001, he founded The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project, a Ugandan non-profit organization, in response to the devastating effects of AIDS in his hometown. The organization, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, provides free education and a holistic approach to help children who have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS.

In addition to two schools, it also operates a library, farm and nutrition program, medical clinic, clean water system, and a support program for grandmothers who care for up to 14 children at a time. Approximately 2.2 million children have been orphaned by the AIDS pandemic in Uganda alone.

Kaguri’s free public talk in Nanaimo is sponsored by VIU and the City of Nanaimo.

VIU has strong ties to the The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project. Dean of International Education Dr. Graham Pike serves as a Board member of the Nyaka schools, while faculty in the International Education department sponsor one student per year. Accounting instructor Chris Burnley and his wife Dr. Caroline Burnley, a VIU Psychology professor, volunteered for the Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project with their two school-age children during a visit to Uganda in 2012.

 Meanwhile, the public is invited to attend World VIU Days activities throughout the week Nov. 3 to 7. Highlights include a drumming circle and free  cake in VIU’s upper cafeteria (Building 300) Nov. 3 at 12 noon, as well as free talks, films, a language lesson, a poster presentation, and VIU field school presentations. A festival in the upper cafeteria on Friday, Nov. 7, from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm features music, cultural exhibits, an international fashion show, and performances by VIU students from around the world. A full schedule of activities is at

For more information about The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project, visit or



Janina Stajic, Manager, Vancouver Island University

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