On Wednesday, the University of Skövde hosted a visit by the Ethiopian ambassador, Professor Merga Bekana. The programme included a presentation of the University and the present collaboration with Addis Abeba University.
The last time the University of Skövde hosted an ambassador visit was in 2016. On Wednesday, it as time for another visit.
– We always enjoy when the University receives attention from events like this, and when our activities are noticed internationally, says Pro Vice-Chancellor Lena Mårtensson.
The Ethiopian ambassador, Professor Merga Bekana, has a background of studies at Uppsala University, and regarding what lead to the visit, the ambassador says:
– I want to build bridges with Swedish universities, strengthening the existing collaborations between Swedish and Ethiopian universities even more, and the goal is to include more Ethiopian universities in the future.
Appointed ambassador to Sweden in 2017
Merga Bekana was appointed ambassador to Sweden at the end of 2017. After having visited the universities of Uppsala and Lund, the turn had come to Skövde for his third ambassador visit.
– I am very impressed with the University of Skövde and what has been accomplished during its relatively short life span as a university since 1977. It is obvious that there is a strong international atmosphere here that attracts both foreign students as well as researchers. In my background as a researcher, I have collaborated with a number of European universities and I believe that the University of Skövde meets the competition very well.
University collaboration since 2015
The delegation had a tour of the campus and the various departments presented their respective education and research programmes. The day also contained discussions on the present collaboration of the University of Skövde and Addis Abeba University. Since 2015, the Department for Information Technology has collaborated with the Ethiopian university where close to 50 000 students come for their education daily.
“Best and largest in Ethiopia”
The collaboration was a “Linnaeus-Palme project” which grants funds for collaboration with international universities. Jianguo Ding, lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Skövde, is a key player. He has been a visiting lecturer at Addis Abeba University and he says that the exchange efforts by the University of Skövde will have an impact on the entire country's education sector.
– The university is the largest and the best in Ethiopia and a centre of influence for the entire country's higher education. Those who attend the university often become prominent professors at other universities in the country. Courses originating at Addis Abeba are often later taught at other schools throughout the country. By making a difference and contributing with what we can right here, we are making a difference for Ethiopia's collective learning, he says, and continues:
– In addition, the collaboration puts the University of Skövde on the map, and we are becoming an option for good Ethiopian students and researchers who apply for an exchange or collaboration with Sweden.