The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Makeni Rev. Fr. Professor Joseph Turay has received the award of Officer of the Order of the Rokel for his efforts in the promotion of education in Sierra Leone. The award was given to him on the 27th April 2017, the 56th Anniversary of Sierra Leone’s Independence. This prestigious award is given to Sierra Leoneans who in diverse ways contribute to the development of Sierra Leone, and will be presented by the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma.
Professor Joseph Turay served in various capacities before he established the University of Makeni. He was the director of the Justice and Peace and Human Right Commission of the Diocese of Makeni and also director of Radio Maria Sierra Leone. During and after the Civil Conflict in Sierra Leone Professor Turay gave up his time to ensure internally displaced people have the dignity they deserve by providing relief services in the Northern Region of Sierra Leone.
When many people chose to run away during the Ebola outbreak he stayed and significantly contributed to ending the epidemic in the country. He was on the forefront of combating the outbreak .
During his time as director of Radio Maria Sierra Leone over 100 people were employed to serve the radio in different capacities. He single handedly facilitated the opening the Radio Maria Sierra Leone on the 1st January 2004 with the frequency 101.1 in Makeni. In 2007 he saw the need for the radio to reach other part of the country and set up a relay station in Bo and in 2007 another relay was set up in Freetown.
When was director of the Justice and Peace and Human Right Commission he set up Human Right Committees in the Northern Region of Sierra Leone that saw the facilitation of community owned projects that changed people’s perception of the need to respect basic human rights.
Professor Turay, a social scientist with a PhD in Social Sciences, has been a job creator instead of a job seeker. He spends most of his time building capacities and developing institutions. Currently over 200 academic and non academic staff are employed at the University of Makeni working round the clock to promote higher education in Sierra Leone.