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Unisa makes a splash in Ethiopia in its academic and research footprint

Led by Principal and Vice-Chancellor (VC), Prof Puleng LenkaBula, a Unisa delegation visited Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa from 6 to 8 September 2021. In addition to engaging with staff and students at Unisa’s campus in the city, the high-energy programme included productive meetings with academic, aviation, science, diplomatic and government executives in Africa’s second-most populous country to advance the institution’s internationalisation and science diplomacy agenda.

From left: Prof Dereje Woldemichael, President of Addis Ababa University of Science and Technology; Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Puleng LenkaBula; and Ambassador Prof Iqbal Jhazbhay, Acting Director of Projects in the Unisa VC's Office. Ethiopia's new dedicated Addis Ababa University of Science and Technology is keen to co-operate with Unisa's College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

From left: Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Puleng LenkaBula, and Mr Mesay Shiferaw, Managing Director of the Ethiopian Aviation Academy, agreed to co-operate in joint programmes in Transport Economics and Aviation Economics.

"Over the three days of the visit, the delegation met with a number of partner institutions in Ethiopia," says team member Ambassador Prof Iqbal Jhazbhay, Acting Director of Projects in the Office of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor. "These included Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa University of Science and Technology, Jigjiga University, the Ethiopian Aviation Academy, the African Union Commissioner of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (ESTI), and Ethiopia's Science and Higher Education Minister. These meetings were held within the contextual frame of taking forward, in the Covid-19 world, the Unisa Memorandum of Understanding with the Ethiopian Government and the African Union."

The VC and team also held productive meetings with the ambassadors of South Africa, Botswana, Eritrea and Kenya, African Union Peace and Security Council members, and friends of Unisa.

A major highlight of the visit was a cocktail event hosted by the Unisa Addis Ababa Alumni Chapter, attended by some of the 861 Ethiopian graduates who have passed through the portals of Unisa’s campus in Ethiopia. Since 2006, Unisa has produced 367 doctoral, 353 master’s and 57 honours graduates. The delegation learned that a remarkable 226 of these graduates lecture at Ethiopian universities, serve in the country’s cabinet, work for international institutions such as the African Union, the United Nations agencies and the International Labour Organization, and hold senior positions in key private business sectors in the country.

On her return, the VC described the visit as a fantastic and most productive exercise. "The successful visit constitutes yet another major step forward in our pursuit of improving Unisa’s footprint in the continent and global arena," she said.

The Unisa Ethiopia Regional Learning Centre in Addis Ababa was established in 2007 as a practical manifestation of Unisa’s continental vision outside the borders of South Africa. It provides academic support to students based in Ethiopia.

Prof Puleng LenkaBula experiences the cockpit simulator training unit at Addis Ababa's Aviation Academy

* Packaged by Philip van der Merwe, Editor, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2021/09/14