Building Sustainable U.S.-Ethiopian University Partnerships

Press Release

Higher Education Leaders Convene to Forge Ties between U.S. and Ethiopian Institutions

U.S. Ambassador announces new seed grants to help build partnerships

ADDIS ABABA, December 14, 2010—At a conference on "Building Sustainable U.S.-Ethiopian University Partnerships" held in Addis Ababa from December 10 to 11, U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Donald E. Booth announced a seed money competition to promote U.S.-Ethiopian University partnerships.

The conference was co-hosted by IIE/Ethiopia, the Institute of International Education’s flagship office in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia, in the belief that developing partnerships will benefit educational institutions in both countries. The conference was attended by representatives from Ethiopia’s 22 public universities and several private institutions, as well as Ministry of Education officials.

Through the new grants competition, U.S. and Ethiopian universities that have innovative linkage ideas may jointly apply for five separate $15,000 grants, or $75,000 in total. Applications will be available on the U.S. Embassy website, and will be due by January 31, 2011. Ambassador Booth noted: "We genuinely hope that concrete initiatives will be sparked and that conference participants will be inspired to support and implement ideas for joint research projects and degree programs, student and faculty exchange programs, and comprehensive institutional partnerships."

Ambassador Booth delivered the official welcome, and Ethiopia’s Minister of Education Ato Demeke Mekonnen gave opening remarks. IIE President and CEO Allan E. Goodman presented the keynote address. Noted expert Susan Buck Sutton from Indiana University-Perdue University of Indiana moderated a panel on linkages, and other U.S. higher education experts led additional partnership sessions.

Participants at the two-day conference learned about models of successful university partnerships and gained important tools to create and sustain them. Presentations focused on specific case studies of U.S.-Ethiopian linkages as well as on university partnerships in the broader context of international education. Panelists presented a detailed look at successful collaborations, including the longtime partnership between Haramaya University and Oklahoma State University; a partnerships on water resources between Bahir Dar University and Cornell University, and research partnerships between Brown University and Jimma, Haramaya and Addis Ababa Universities.

The event also offered networking opportunities for institutions interested in creating linkages with their higher education counterparts and with other groups that support higher education development in East Africa and around the world.

The U.S.-Ethiopia conference comes at a particularly exciting time for U.S. institutions eager to strengthen their educational ties in the region. A rapid and unprecedented expansion of tertiary education is underway in Ethiopia, with thirteen new public universities opening in the past three years. Expanded access to quality higher education at home is a bold and visionary prospect for the next generation of Ethiopian leaders who will shape the country’s future development and growth.

According to new data from Open Doors 2010, a report on international student mobility published annually by IIE with support from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, 1,553 Ethiopian students studied in the United States in the 2009/10 academic year. Additionally, 133 U.S. students studied abroad for credit in Ethiopia in 2008/09, the most recent year for which this data is available. The workshop will serve as an opportunity to examine the current state of educational relations between the U.S. and Ethiopia and energize a commitment to strengthen bonds between the two countries.

IIE recently established a Center for International Partnerships in Higher Education, with support from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, to help institutions develop strategies for building fruitful and sustainable global linkages. The IIE Center has established the International Academic Partnership Program, which in its first two years is focused on growing U.S.-India and U.S.-China higher education ties. In addition, the IIE Center has launched the U.S. Indonesia Partnership Program for Study Abroad Capacity, which will bring together six U.S. institutions with six Indonesian institutions to develop new, innovative study abroad opportunities for U.S. undergraduates in Indonesia.

About the Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of over 20 offices worldwide and over 1,000 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.

IIE’s presence in Sub-Saharan Africa has spanned over 30 years, and IIE recently established an office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. IIE/Ethiopia has a strong set of programs in leadership development, organizational effectiveness, and higher education scholarship administration. Among its key programs, the office administers the David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s Leadership Development for Mobilizing (LDM) Reproductive Health Program in collaboration with the IIE/West Coast Center, which fosters leadership development for reproductive health professionals in Nigeria and Ethiopia. From 1979–2001, the USAID-funded South Africa Education Program opened the doors for black South Africans to obtain the knowledge, skills and professional credentials required to succeed in a post-apartheid government.

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