One of the most active and exemplary joint venture programs that University of Gondar (UoG) partakes with Ohio State University (OSU): One-Health Summer Institute, exhibited encouraging signs of broadening its horizon, as pronounced unequivocally by the representatives of both parties, during the consultative forum held at the University of Gondar, on February 22, 2016. This jointly organized consultative workshop by UoG and OSU, was attended by Dr. Takelle Tadesse, vice president for research and community services (UoG), and chairperson of the event, Professor Wondwosson Gebreyes, Global One Health Director, other delegates from OSU, heads and staff of the various academic and administrative units in UoG.
As disclosed by Dr.Takele, immediately after his warm welcoming message to the participants, the consultative workshop was mainly targeted: “ to introduce the existing ICT Infrastructure strengths, challenges and opportunities for the implementation of e-learning at the UoG;  to demonstrate health informatics issues included in joint PhD program plan in heath informatics and big health data research, and  to share E-Capacity experiences at The Ohio State University, potential collaborative areas with UoG”.
Consequently, during its two sessions, the workshop entertained a series of enthusiastic relevant presentations that aroused warm discussions among participants throughout all the processions. During the first session, conducted in ICT’s training auditorium, presentations were made by: higher ICT officials of both institutions- Mr. Surafel Engidaw, ICT director (UoG), and his counterpart Mr. Corey (OSU), Prof. Wondwossen Gebreyes, and others.
During the second general discussion session, held in the senate hall (UoG) four presentations that evoked warm discussion were made. The first was by Jeannie Simmons, Associate Director, Office of International Affairs-Education abroad (OSU) targeted on what the Office of International Affairs (OIA) in general and her specific -Education Abroad offices do, how they are structured, and related issues. Next, Dr. Takele Tadesse, vice president for research and community services (UoG), made his presentation on “partnership and networking opportunities in UoG”. In addition to the existing live engagement areas, Dr. Takele proposed potential collaboration areas that both universities might be mutually interested on, with a win-win approach: Strengthening post graduate programs by developing joint PhD programs and mentoring PhD students; provision of short and long term capacity building trainings to academic staffs of UoG; delivery of higher education management skill-based trainings to leaders of UoG at various level; strengthening and expanding the available e-learning activities and virtual teaching learning processes in the University of Gondar by creating strong link and adjunct staff employments; development and implementation of joint mega research projects that are focused to community problems and advancement of the region/country…; and on establishment of “Center of Excellence in Wildlife research, training and community Engagement.”
The third presentation, by Dr. Seleshe Nigatu, one of the coordinators of One-Health Summer Institute in UoG was on: “challenges and prospects of the One-Health Summer institute” since its inception. Based on Dr seleshe’s presentation, the unwaveringly continued joint engagements by the two parties, under the umbrella of – One-Health Summer Institute, has been significantly leveraging UoG towards its unmet needs. Some of the evidences as can be witnessed from UoG’s side include: The ever increasing number and type of demand-based inclusive short term trainings that have been offered to UoG’s both academic and administrative staffs, postgraduate students, professionals of other sector institutions in the nation, the ongoing joint projects focusing on all of its engagement areas: education, research, and community service, such as: Rabies prevention and eradication project (in collaboration with CDC), Cervical cancer diagnosis and treatment center, Rapid tuberculosis diagnosis kit development and trial, DVM- curriculum twining project for the faculty of veterinary medicine to achieve ‘Day-One-Competency’ criteria set by the OIE, and others .
The last presentation by Professor Wondwossen Gebreyes, Director of Global health and team leader of the delegates from the Ohio State University (OSU), emphasized on the available potentials and interests at the OSU’s side: projects in east African universities (on MRSA, drug stewardship, salmonella etc…) can also involve UoG in the future. He also underlined the availability of huge potential and interest from OSU faculties to mentor UoG’s PhD students and work together in various multi-disciplinary mega research projects in a ‘win-win manner’. In conclusion, Prof. Wondwosen briefly described that the OSU team is currently preparing the next five year strategic plan document of One Health summer institute, and the draft he said is expected to be commented and enriched by all stakes before its implementation. In this regard, he suggested the importance of incorporating the strategic plan of One –Health summer institute as part of both university’s main strategic activity.
After all the presentations were made, Dr Takele Taddese opened the floor for discussion. As a result, various comments and suggestions were forwarded by the participants: the One Health institute activities should involve more disciplines than it is involving so far; training delivery activities and experiences should not only be limited to OSU faculties, rather should involve UoG’s staff to enrich their international teaching experiences; and trainings should be extended to administrative staffs, specifically the International Relation office of UoG, in order to build the capacity of the staff and enhance its services.
Finally the meeting was adjourned by the closing remarks of Dr Takele who appreciated the commitments of OSU faculties, especially Prof. Wondwossen Gebreyes, in helping and sharing their experiences to UoG, and he promised to the OSU delegates to resolve the problems and challenges raised from UoG’s side as fast as possible, by forwarding the report to the University’s Managing body.
International Relations Team Leader, University of Gondar.