Two representatives from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, which is located in Vienna, Austria, were in invited to the University of Gondar on a mutual partnership basis. The talks between the two respective institutions were based on possible collaborations in the future. The two representatives of BOKU, a deforestation prevention and soil analysis research group, spoke of some insightful ideas into Ethiopia’s own forestry issues. Dr. Asrat Atsedeweyn, Acedemic Vice President, lead the discussion alongside representatives from the UoG’s agriculture department.
According to Prof. Douglas Godbold and Prof. Hubert Hasenauer, in Europe, around the 17th and 18th century, there were mass deforestation attempts that were made to free up space and to accommodate the coal mining industry. It’s just now, in the 21st century, that Europeans are feeling a sense of recovery of the forests and its much-needed element, carbon. It is said that such an impact would have significant repercussions on the soil that is around effected areas. As Prof. Douglas Godbold and Prof. Hubert Hasenauer expressed “The way towards sustainable management in Ethiopia will depend on 3 factors; Research organizations, research programs and education.”
Being one of the best Universities in Europe, when it comes to natural resources and life sciences, students from neighboring countries make the journey to be educated. The University based in Vienna has a total student population of 15,000. There are about 2,600 staff members (600 being administrative staff and 2,000 being academic).
Since Ethiopian universities are at an infancy stage when it comes such a topic it will be vital for the University of Gondar to reel in such a partnership. With this relationship, future advancements in research and practical solutions will follow. A chance to bilaterally have a mutual consensus via a Memorandum of Understanding is in the works. The MOU could possibly include curriculum development, the assistance in research bases and experience sharing. Prof. Goldbold and Prof. Hasenauer believe that collaboration with the University of Gondar is something that will benefit both sides.
By Samuel Malede| Public and International Relations Directorate