It’s amazing, but true: Compassion Radio, an evangelical Christian ministry, is pioneering the development of a transformational secular, comprehensive university in the Islamic bastion of Khartoum, Sudan. And it is doing so at the request of the popular former president of Sudan, Jafaar al-Nimeiri.
This seemingly improbable project is moving forward with the approval of the Sudanese government. Over the past year, two “institutes” have been held in Khartoum, involving scholarly exchanges between American and Sudanese academics. The American contributors have included faculty members from such universities as Rutgers, Northeastern, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Mercer, and the University of Jos in Nigeria. Among the attendees (and expressing approval of the endeavor), has been Sudan’s Vice President, Ali Osman Muhamad Taha.
The University project has grown out of a friendship between Norm Nelson and a leading Sudanese economist that began in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Both Norm and the economist, a devout Muslim, describe their meeting as “providential”.
Norm comments, “We will continue to move ahead with this project as long as the Sudanese government cooperates with our efforts and remains supportive of the statement of principles which both our American and Sudanese committees have affirmed.”
The university is to be named Nimeiri University, in honor of the former president, and its campus will be built on government-donated land in Omdurman, across the Nile River from Khartoum.
Norm has invited Dr. James Jennings, an evangelical Arabic-speaking specialist in Islamic history to be administrator of the project. Dr. Jennings has taught at Wheaton College, the University of Akron, and the University of Tennessee.