The University of Eastern Finland is strengthening its existing collaborations with Ghanaian partners. A recent visit to Ghana by a UEF delegation witnessed the signing of two memoranda of understanding on education and research collaboration.
“Our Global Development Policy underlines that we will strengthen our collaboration with the Global South, especially in education and research. This is an important part of our global responsibility actions and commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Although we have education and research collaboration with over 15 African countries, most of these partnerships are with a quartet comprising Ghana, Tanzania, Namibia and South Africa, with whom we hope to deepen the engagement,” Rector of the University of Eastern Finland Jukka Mönkkönen says.
The University of Eastern Finland and Kwame Nkrumah University of Technology (KNUST) in Ghana have been collaborating for years in pharmacy, natural resource management, climate change mitigation and forestry. Now, the two universities have pledged to deepen collaboration and expand it to public health, nutrition and nursing sciences.
“Signing a Memorandum of Understanding with KNUST is an important part of formalising our commitment to each other. After years of collaboration, we look forward to moving ahead together,” Professor Jussi Kauhanen from the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition at UEF says.
Furthermore, collaboration in the field of photonics between KNUST and UEF is also on the table. The University of Eastern Finland’s Centre of Photonics Sciences and Photonics Ghana are already in a partnership, and Photonics Ghana was in fact set up by UEF alumni from Ghana.
“We are incredibly proud of the work Photonics Ghana is doing,” says Professor Jyrki Saarinen, Head of the Centre of Photonics Sciences at UEF.
The UEF delegation was also hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and its College of Science and Technology. UEF and CSIR have earlier collaborated on Master’s level education and training in the bioeconomy and have recently completed running a virtual course under the Finnish University Partnership for International Development (UniPID).
“We are interested in deepening our engagement also on the doctoral level,” Professor Ari Pappinen from the School of Forest Sciences at UEF says.
At the University of Ghana (UG), the UEF delegation was hosted by the School of Nursing with which a long-term collaboration is already in place. UG and UEF agreed to expand the existing collaboration to also include the School of Business at UG and the School of Computing at UEF.
UEF also committed to exploring collaboration in health sciences through a Letter of Intent signed with the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS).
“Future joint education and research collaboration in pharmacy, public health and nutrition will provide avenues for innovation and knowledge co-creation for impactful and responsible sustainable development,” says Dean, Professor Kwame Ohene Buabeng, an alumnus of UEF and a driving force behind the UEF visit to Ghana.
A vast alumni network in Ghana
With over 1000 African alumni, UEF has a vast network in and from the continent. During the UEF visit to Ghana, two alumni events were held in Kumasi and Accra, hosted by Rector Jukka Mönkkönen.
“We have almost 400 Ghanaian alumni to date and Ghanaians form the majority of our current African student body. Ghana has huge potential for international student recruitment, from Bachelor’s to doctoral levels. Our Ghanaian alumni are committed to collaborating with UEF, and they now have plans to establish an official alumni chapter,” says Roseanna Avento, Global Development Manager at UEF.
Media caption: In photo (from left to right): Professor Jyrki Saarinen, Head of the Centre of Photonics Sciences at UEF; Professor Jussi Kauhanen, Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition at UEF; Global Development Manager Roseanna Avento, UEF; Rector Jukka Mönkkönen, UEF; Professor Esmeranda Manful, Vice-Dean, International Partnerships Office at KNUST; Professor Ari Pappinen, School of Forest Sciences, UEF; Obed Amponsah, Lecturer in Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at KNUST and UEF Alumnus; Professor Samuel Asare Nkansah, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at KNUST.