Mississippi State University (MSU) has expressed interest to partner with Makerere University. This was revealed in a meeting between a delegation from Mississippi State University (MSU) and the Vice Chancellor, Makerere University, Professor John Ddumba-Ssentamu on 11th April 2014.
Dr. Jon Rezek, Associate Vice-President; International Programs and Professor Margaret Khaitsa were on a one-week visit to Uganda, seeking interactive interface with different institutions/organizations for purposes of building partnerships.MSU is located in the eastern part of North-Central Mississippi, United States of America.
The delegation had previously met with management of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal resources and Biosecurity (COVAB) as a result of earlier interactions with Professor Khaitsa an alumnus and key player in COVAB’s earlier partnership with North Dakota State University, where she was working prior to joining MSU.
Dr. Rezek stated that their quest for partnership with Makerere University was in line with MSU’s Strategic Plan to form 10 partnerships with universities abroad. He added that in Africa, their interest lies in Universities in Ghana, Malawi and Uganda and that Makerere University was singled out in Uganda because of “its great reputation and possibility for much collaboration since both Makerere and Mississippi State University have almost similar colleges”, Dr. Rezek stressed.
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Architecture, College of Art and Design, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Forest Resources and College of Veterinary Medicine are what make up Mississippi State University.
“One pillar of our strategic plan is to encourage globalization, attract and nurture new international opportunities so that effective and relevant portfolios of programs are established”, said Dr. Rezek.
Professor Ddumba-Ssentamu was optimistic about the potential partnership and the fact that there was already a link to MSU through COVAB. “You are welcome to collaborate with us and it’s a good thing that you are strengthening an already existing relationship”, the Vice Chancellor said. MSU already signed an MOU with Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and are working with COVAB through this collaboration.
Professor Khaitsa said their visit to Makerere University was exploratory in nature and aimed at initial discussions to pave way for partnerships in joint research and training, joint publications, curriculum development, study abroad programs and outreach among others.
Dr. Rezek and Professor Khaitsa later met with representatives from various Colleges to whom they stressed the need for partnerships at faculty level in the sense that their preference is in researchers from their respective colleges linking up with colleagues from MSU and working together in their common areas of expertise.
“For this partnership to succeed, it is necessary that specific research areas are identified and colleagues linked up between the 2 universities to begin a working relationship,” said Dr. Rezek.
Discussed also was the initiative by Carnegie Corporation to fund African born scientists in America to work with colleagues in Africa for a period of 90 days with an element of cost sharing between the American University and the African host University. Professor Khaitsa has already applied to work at COVAB in the areas of food safety and Infectious Diseases Management.
Professor John David Kabasa, Principal COVAB said that a team from MSU and Makerere will work together to develop a broad MOU that encompasses all the elements of potential areas of collaboration with the various colleges at Makerere University, adding that by mid-May, an MOU will be in place.
The Colleges that were represented at the meeting were the College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMs), College of Engineering Design Art and Technology (CEDAT), College of Natural Sciences (CONAS) and the College of Education and External Studies (CEES).
In his closing remarks, the Principal CEDAT, Dr. Henry Alinaitwe expressed his appreciation to the guests for having chosen to work with Makerere University.
“Makerere takes pride in collaboration and partnerships. We are therefore ready to work with you and look forward to a smooth working relationship with Mississippi State University,” he concluded.
Article by Jovia Musubika Kavulu, CoVAB
Pictures by Public Relations Office