Oklahoma State University’s (OSU) unique contribution to the development of Ethiopian higher education was recognized at a forum organized by the United States Department of State’s U.S.- African University Partnerships Forum, held in Washington, D.C. The meeting, convened by Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor P. Nagy, brought together over 150 higher education leaders from the U.S. and from across Africa, as well as a number of Washington, D.C.-based members of the African diplomatic corp.
In his opening remarks, Nagy highlighted the role that OSU held in the establishment of Haramaya University in Ethiopia and used it as an example of the ways in which university partnerships can transform nations. The inaugural US-Africa University Partnerships Forum event, held at the U.S. State Department on Feb. 19, was hosted by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of African Affairs in Washington, D.C. More than 150 senior administrators from U.S. and African universities and diplomats joined the forum.
The welcome speech at the Forum was delivered by Assistant Secretary of State Tibor Nagy. He expressed his commitment to support higher education links and exchanges and indicated that his hope for the future would build of the model of OSU’s contribution in Ethiopia in the 1950s and ‘60s. In addition to Nagy’s comments, a number of other speakers emphasized the ways in which U.S. universities can build effective partnerships with African institutions that will have the potential to positively impact the developing nations of Africa. African leaders also discussed their priorities for university collaborations including increasing access to higher education to improve the quality of teaching and learning, better develop workforce development, and promote the internationalization of higher education. Ethiopia is committed to providing both policy and financial support for such mutually beneficial partnerships with U.S. institutions.
OSU Associate Provost, Dr. Randy Kluver, and Global Partnerships Director, Dr. Vivian Wang, were invited to participate in the forum. The School of Global Studies and Partnerships is working on additional plans to facilitate and enhance OSU partnerships in Ethiopia. OSU representatives also reunited with representatives of a number of Ethiopian universities who had recently visited the OSU campus and discussed the next steps for collaborations.
OSU’s relationship with Ethiopia began in 1951, when Oklahoma A&M College (now OSU) President Henry G. Bennett was tapped by President Truman to head the Point IV Program, a technical assistance program now known as the US Agency for International Development (USAID). As a part of a contract signed with the Ethiopian government, dozens of OSU faculty and staff moved to Ethiopia to establish two of the nation’s top universities, Haramaya University and Jimma University. In the summer of 2019, OSU President Burns Hargis and first cowgirl Ann Hargis led a delegation of OSU leadership to Ethiopia, where he delivered the commencement speech at Haramaya University, one of the two universities founded in the country by OSU faculty and staff. Over 7000 students graduated from the university during the event. President Hargis noted the long history of friendship with Ethiopia in his remarks, and expressed the commitment of OSU to maintain strong ties between the universities.
For more information on the US-Africa University Partnerships Forum:
MEDIA CONTACT: Lyn Putnam | School of Global Studies and Partnerships | 405.744.5496 | firstname.lastname@example.org