Mekelle University (MU) and Binghamton University (BU) of New York signed an agreement of partnership

August 24, 2016: New York:

The presidents of BU (Dr. Harvey Stenger) and MU (Dr. Kindeya Gebrehiwot) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on 22 August, 2016 in Binghamton, New York. This is a result of several months of negotiations between the two universities and is the first MoA signed by BU with an African institution.

During the signing ceremony, both parties expressed their interests and capabilities with an emphasis on postgraduate programs, especially at PhD level (mainly, sandwich programs), supporting MU staff to make successful applications at BU for post-graduate programs, staff and student exchange, curriculum development, and collaborating on studying important research issues in Ethiopia including watershed management, renewable energy, public health, SMEs and entrepreneurship but also multi-disciplinary areas such as governance, environmental and sustainability, and development studies. The BU leaders also expressed their interests in developing new postgraduate programs, launching new journals, establishing new research centers and labs at MU as well as hosting MU staff as visiting scholars at BU. In order to facilitate exchanging knowledge and experience between the staff of the two universities, the BU directorates also agreed on conducting some of their important events (workshops, conferences, seminars) at MU. It is also discussed that BU and MU will further collaborate on preparing joint research project proposals to be submitted to American and/or international funding agencies.

Dr. Kindeya also met with the Vice Provost of BU, Deans of Colleges and Directors of Post Graduate Programs. He also visited laboratory facilities, Symposium Hall, roof gardening, solar and geo-power at the Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science. He also had a tour visit from the Center for Learning and Teaching, library, event center, sport complex at the Harper College (the biggest college at BU). It is worth mentioning that, with 17,000 undergraduate and graduate enrollments, Binghamton University is one of the biggest state universities in New York State (SUNY) that was established in 1946. The university is currently running 28 PhD programs.

During the visit, Dr. Kindeya shared the vision of MU to be promoted as one of the top 25 universities in Africa by 2025 and highlighted the desire of MU to enhance the capacity building of its staff at PhD level with partners like BU through various modalities. The leaders of BU expressed their willingness to work closely with MU in different initiatives and agreed on their support to be an effective partner for MU. Dr. Kindeya also raised the issue of funding of future MU applicants at BU, especially at PhD level and BU directorates agreed on negotiating with the chairs of their PhD programs to support the MU applicants with funding. It is also expected that the directorates of BU will visit Mekelle University in the near future.

The tandem dean of the College of Business and Economics, Dr. Hossein Azadi who has initiated this partnership was also with Dr. Kindeya Gebrehiwot during the visit at BU. Dr. Hossein will pursue further negotiations with the heads of different departments which are running PhD programs at BU in order to facilitate getting PhD and master admissions for MU applicants as well as organizing the visit for the BU directorates from Mekelle University in the near future.

Author: CCM, Mekelle University

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