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Associate Dean Mark Weiser, othersvisit Ethiopia to assist universities

Monday, January 14, 2013


The Presidents of two Ethiopian Universities invited a group of Oklahoma State University college representatives to visit their campuses to discuss ways in which OSU can assist them in strengthening their institutions.

President Admasu Tsegaye of Addis Ababa University and President Yosef Mamo of Hawassa University extended the joint invitation to the group.

The OSU delegation is composed of Mark Weiser, associate dean, OSU Spears School of Business; Stephan Wilson, dean, college of human sciences; Ed Miller, professor and director of the agricultural international programs, college of agriculture; Dr. Stan Grogg associate dean, OSU Health Sciences Center; Tom Wikle, associate dean, college of arts and sciences and Khaled Gasem, professor, college of engineering.

The OSU group visited Ethiopia January 3-11.

While in Ethiopia, the group discussed ways that each of their respective colleges could contribute toward the continued development of Ethiopian educational institutions. A proposal, jointly prepared by the respective colleges at OSU and the Ethiopian Universities, is now being developed and will be soon be submitted for approval. The college representatives provide the knowledge base of OSU’s programmatic capacity, which will serve as the foundation of the proposal for OSU’s involvement.

“Following our success in Moi University in Kenya, there’s an opportunity for the Spears School to work with Addis Ababa and Hawassa University in building faculty and staff to the point in which they can continue to sustain the needs for their program,” said Weiser.

Oklahoma State University has a long history of involvement in Ethiopia, which started with the development of Alemaya University.  Alemaya University accepted its first students in 1954 and was dedicated by Emperor Haile Selassie in 1958. Until 1996, Alemaya (now Haramaya) was limited to an agricultural curriculum, but since then has opened its doors to many academic fields. 

Ethiopia has recently gone through a stage of rapid growth in higher education, with more than 33 institutions of higher education now operating in the country. While the institutional growth has been rapid and impressive, much work remains to be done in the establishment of curriculum and faculty development.  This is the area where the colleges at Oklahoma State University hope to make a contribution in the coming years.  

The friendship between Oklahoma and Ethiopia has grown steadily over recent years, with President Admasu Tsegaye of Addis Ababa University spending a sabbatical program at Oklahoma State University in 2012 and 2013. Independent entrepreneur and film maker Mel Tewahade has recently released two documentaries covering the role of Oklahoma State University as a land grant institution providing assistance in Ethiopia. Tewahade’s hope is that the past will be a guide to the future, and that valuable efforts at development, growth and internationalization will be continued rather than forgotten. 

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