AMU-IUC Program launch: Spectacular show marks the event

With the spectacular launch of AMU-Institutional University Cooperation Program, Arba Minch University in the annals of its 30-year history has scripted a new chapter in the area of global cooperation on 28th March, 2017, at Main Campus, in the presence of all and sundry. Click here to see the pictures.

This cooperation of monumental proportion is the endeavor of VLIRUOS, the flagship of Belgium Government’s Inter-University Council funded by Belgium Development Cooperation.

University president, Dr Damtew Darza, while lauding Belgium Development Cooperation for technical, financial and moral support, said it will improve academic, research staff capacity and institutional facilities by exploiting ethnic diversity as a tool thus ensuring sustainable livelihood, improving health and agro-ecology, etc. in Southern Ethiopian Rift Valley.

Pointing at lacunas, he said, AMU presently has 34,060 students and of 1,270 academic staff, 141 hold PhDs that includes 58 Ethiopians. Libraries and ICT facilities are inadequate; laboratories below standard and dearth of qualified staff further make things worse. Therefore, to tackle such challenges we need global cooperation and AMU-IUC Cooperation in this direction will prove to be a blessing in disguise.

Deputy Head of Mission of Belgian Embassy to Ethiopia and Djibouti, Mr Jozef Naudts, lauding Belgium-Ethiopia’s longstanding bilateral ties has said that Ethiopia’s strong economic growth is noteworthy and Flemish Inter-University Council further strengthened it by building capacity through students-staff exchange thus enhancing the quality of education and academic research. And in this, AMU-IUC program will act as a catalyst in bolstering institutional capacity and cementing relationship.

Recalling the fond memories of World War-II in 1941, he said, a Belgian contingent of 5500 Congolese soldiers with its officers was instrumental in liberating Ethiopian South-West region from clutches of Italian invaders including area around Arba Minch.

The program got off to a stunning start in a glittering ceremony wherein Gamo Gofa Cultural Band set the tone as AMU top officials and visiting dignitaries danced to the ethnic numbers.

Thereafter, the in-charge of international relation at KU Leuven, Prof. Pol Coppin reiterated that it is their social obligation to be a catalyst in bringing innovation in wide areas of disciplines and program such as IUC usher in mutual benefits for scientific collaboration in the framework of institutional capacity building between north and south is worth appreciating.

Flemish overall program coordinator, Prof Roel Merickx, on project ‘Forty Springs, Forty Nations finding common grounds for sustainable development in Southern Ethiopian Rift Valley,’ said, VLIRUOS module of cooperation will sow the seeds of sustainability wherein indigenous people take control of their situation by exposing themselves to facilities and expertise which should be an ammunition in acquiring developmental avenues in and outside nation.

His counterpart from AMU, Dr Guchie Gulie, has appraised the gathering with benefits this cluster of projects will bring in like PhDs, enhancement of ICT, laboratories, and libraries, etc. He lauded VLIRUOS, Prof. Dr Seppe Deckers and others for materializing this collaboration.

On the next day, in a stock-taking visit to catchment areas at Sile, Elgo, Baso, Shafe, Shellemela, Dembile, Geza forest, Chamo Lake, Gircha Highland Fruits and Vegetables Research Centre and Enset Park project sites at Chencha, project leaders and members tried to assess the gravity of situations involving issues of land-degradation, farming system, health, soil fertility, terrestrial and aquatic life at Chamo Lake and others related issues.

On the concluding day, AMU-IUC team has conducted an examination and interviews for PhD candidates who would soon be heading for their research and studies to Belgium.

Prof. Miet Maertens, Prof. Luc De Meester and Mrs Martine Dekoninck of KU Leuven, Prof. Frederik Questier and Prof. Matthieu Kervyn from Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Prof. Jean Pierre Van Geertruyden of Antwerp and Prof. Geert Janssens of Gent University, Prof. Seppe Deckers, Prof. Karen Vancampenhout and others made it to the launching event.

Erstwhile AMU president, Dr Tarekegn Tadesse, Dr Agena Anjulo, AMU top officials, researchers, academic staff, students and others were in attendance. Research Directorate Director, Dr Simon Shibru was the anchor.

(Corporate Communication Directorate)