Djibouti, 07-10-13: The Secretariat of IGAD, under the leadership of Hon. Netsannet Asfaw, Director of Peace and Security Division, gathered representatives from Universities of IGAD region for a two-day consultative meeting in Bishoftu (Debrezeit), Ethiopia on July 04 and 05 so as to agree on the establishment of a consortium.
This consultative meeting, the first of its kind, was chaired by the State Minister for Higher Education of Ethiopia, H.E. Dr. Kaba Urgessa, and attended by delegations led by H.E. khamis Kajo Konda, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research for Sudan, Hon. Mrs. Alupo Jessica Rose Epel, Minister of Higher Education and Sports for Uganda, H.E. Amb. Christopher Chika, Deputy Head of Mission to Ethiopia for Kenya, Mr. Abdirahman Mohamed Hirabe, Deputy Head of Mission to Djibouti for Somalia, Mr. Aboubaker Hassan Ali, Secretary General of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research for Djibouti, and Prof. Aggrey A. Majok, Vice-Chancellor of Dr. John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology for South Sudan.
In her opening remarks, Hon. Netsannet Asfaw highlighted the importance of the universities in IGAD region “being at the forefront of researches and studies about the region that should contribute to stability, peace security, and development. “We should be the trailblazers in research, be it on natural resources, fauna, flora, economy, paleontology, music, dance and so forth,” she added.
After careful and fruitful presentations and discussions about the best ways and means to have a Consortium of IGAD Universities, the delegates agreed on the dire need for such a consortium that would enable knowledge, staff and students exchange programs in view of better competitivenessin the international arena.
To the Chairman of this meeting, the State Minister for Higher Education of Ethiopia, H.E. Dr. Kaba Urgessa, “this is a success as we all agreed on the principle of having a Consortium of IGAD Universities.” “How fast people will come onboard, is the right question and the challenge ahead,” he added.
In her closing remark, Hon. Mrs. Alupo Jessica Rose Epel, Minister of Education and Sports for Uganda reiterated “the need for Government support for research in Universities in terms of providing a framework, policy and certainly resources if we are to have improved ownership”.
At the end of the second day of consultations, the representatives of the Universities in presence set up a steering committee of seven made up officials from Addis Ababa University, University of Djibouti, Mogadishu University, University of Nairobi, University of Khartoum, Makerere University of Kampala, and Dr. John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology, that would work on the subsequent details. Following an invitation from the Sudanese Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, this committee is to meet in Khartoum within the next two months or so.