The idea to establish the Foundation did not come from Mwalimu Nyerere, he was very reluctant to allow his name to be associated with the proposed Foundation. However Mwalimu Nyerere was convinced by the idea of a suitable location in the country where his collected documents concerning with Africa development and history. Mwalimu Nyerere gave and insisted the main objective of the Foundation, the promotion of “Peace, Unity, and People Centred Development in Africa and the world. He eventually agreed to become the first chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation.
During the last years of his life, Mwalimu Nyerere was actively promoting the objectives of the Foundation in Africa and elsewhere. He reminded and emphasized individual and institution honesty, and scholastic integrity as the must mark of all the work of the Foundation.