The half-day international education workshop, conducted in UoG recently with the collaborative efforts of Ohio State University (OSU) and University of Gondar (UoG) was not only an awakening call for leadership in both universities, but also a showcase as to what extent the existing active collaborative engagements of the two universities can potentiallybe widened and deepened in terms of their scope and variety. Representatives from the different colleges, faculties, schools and departments of UoG attended this workshop that had four thematic areas of discussion.
Dr. Yemataw Wondie, Director of Quality assurance and audit directorate, and Ohio State University, Study Abroad Program Manager declared the opening of the workshop during the occasion after making a brief introduction about the speaker of the workshop, Grace Johnson (Director, Study Abroad, Office of International Affair, Ohio State University).
It was only recently, in 2012 that OSU and UoG initially agreed officially to work together on three collaboration areas: staff/student exchange, research collaboration, and one health thinking. However, remarkable achievements have been registered so far in all of these partnership areas. Thus, the link with ohio state university is considered by UoG as one of the active and live areas of the international collaborative efforts it is engaged in. A case in point is that, in addition to the staff/students exchange practice that havealready been in place between the two universities, the joint venture project entitled “UoG-The OHIO state University OIE veterinary education twinning project” has already got $ 250,000 budget acceptance recently, as can be witnessed from the UoG’s side. Similarly, this successful international education workshop organized jointly by the two parties, pinpoints the active commitment of both partners on their mutual agenda.
It was stressed during the workshop by the speakerthat the concept of “Internationalization” is the latest indispensable perspective, compelling institutional priority in any higher education institution worldwide to survive today’s world of competition and rivalry, and achieve a global university status.In this regard, Ms. Grace also added “We don’t have to be like a revolving door and be on the same page every time“
Under the first theme of the workshop, “Why internationalization?”the Rationale, benefits, guiding principles,and priorities of internationalization were thoroughly discussed. Different models of internationalization in higher education were also presented by the speaker next to the first theme of theworkshop. Thirdly, Ohio State’s internationalization strategies were introduced to the audience in detail, and finally, Key capacity building needs to develop, implement and sustain internationalization have been enumerated on which a two-way discussion was made.
Besides, the workshop can be considered as an “awakening alarm” for every staff and a call to leadership from the UoG’s side, signaling the need for prompt managerial intervention in Internationalizing the University.
Moreover, the workshop spelt out the need for strive to achieve the status of “global university”: one in which international and multicultural experiences and perspectives are fully integrated into teaching, discovery, and engagement missions.
Similarly, the workshop was Showcasing the exemplary innovative experiences, and achievements of Ohio state university on Internationalization, and was timely and has a big lesson for every participant of the workshop.
In this regard, being a higher institution in the process of development, UoG is obviously eager to learn, partner, and seek funding in order to “make a difference.” That is why it has confessed in its strategic plan document that its links with both local and international institutions is limited or unsatisfactory; which obviously hampers its efforts to meet the strategic objectives set in all its mandated areas: education, research and community service. Furthermore, UoG, like many other Ethiopian universities lack a clear and comprehensive strategy for building and sustaining effective partnerships with universities and institutions abroad and locally.
On the other hand, Ethiopia in general and UoG in particular could be “a research lab”and “fertile ground for research” that offers many opportunities to apply creative solutions to global challenges by testing innovations and piloting projects.
Generally, the workshop clearly showed the paths in searching and finding the right fit for partnerships, and it will have an illuminative role on the current efforts of establishing and building effective partnerships by UoG. To put it in another way, one can say that the workshop has left an assignment for every UoG’s community in order to let the university survive the ever-rapidly growing global socio-economic and political situations. Therefore, as UoG is required to have increased and more innovative linkages and ties of all kinds with higher institutions and other relevant organizations worldwide, some concrete partnership ideas are hoped to develop out of the UoG’s community as a result of this workshop attended.
Finally, the workshop was again adjourned by the closing remark of Dr. Yemataw Wondie.
Written by Elias Menbere