H.E. Ambassador Moonhwan KIM visits JU

H.E. Mr. Moonhwan KIM, Korean Ambassador to Ethiopia along with delegates from the Korean Embassy and the Korean Foundation for International Health Healthcare (KOFIH) paid a one day official visit to Jimma University, April 14, 2016. Though the major purpose of the visit was the K-Project, which expected to be launched at the end of this year, the Ambassador held a discussion with the University top management about various other issues too. The Ambassador appreciated Jimma University for exerting massive effort in education, research and community services. In particular, the Ambassador stated in his remark that JU’s motto, ’ We are in the Community’, speaks volumes of commitment of the University to serving the community. He highlighted that his government supports the desire of the university to achieve its vision and mission through partnerships and collaborations, one of which is the K-project. The Ambassador inquired the leadership of the University about the commitment and the necessary preparation to achieve the goals and purposes of the project. He specifically requested the university about training of staff to meet the purposes of the K-project. He finally thanked all the parties on the Ethiopian and Korean sides for their enormous effort in the on-going KOFIH project and in development of the K-project.

Professor Fikre Lemessa, JU’s president, after thanking the Ambassador and the delegates for their visit to JU, mentioned that the diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and South Korea date back to 1951 when Ethiopia responded to the call of UN Security Council to preserve peace and security in Korean Peninsula during Korean war(1951-1953). He stated that Korea’s remarkable transformation from a poor agrarian country into a leading industrial country in one generation (in half a century), inspired Ethiopia for its rapid economic development and dynamic democracy. Professor Fikre said that Jimma University strongly believes that the Korean experiences in the field of higher education are paramount importance to grow as strong University for JU. He said JU’s partnership with the Korean Universities started five years ago with the KNU( Kangwon National University) in the Vegetable Production and technology transfer project, a project funded by Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).  President Fikre underlined JU’s desire to collaborate with the Korean Universities in the field science and technology. Regarding the concerns raised by the Ambassador about the K-project, he assured the Ambassador and the delegates that JU will undertake all the necessary preparation to ensure the success of the project.

Mr. Kora Tushune, Vice-president for Business and Development of JU, on his part pointed out that the K-project will help the university to get closer to the community by providing mobile health services. The additional resources from the project will help the university to provide better and accessible services. He said the Korean collaboration can be extended further in the area of geo-thermal energy, which does not exist in the western part of Ethiopia.

In response to the concerns raised by the President and the Vice president, the Ambassador promised to look for opportunities to link up JU with Korean universities to enhance the cooperation in the field of science and technology. He also gave his word to deliver public lecture on Korean-Ethiopian relations and other important issues to JU community.

After the discussions, the Ambassador had a campus tour that mainly involved the Jimma University Hospital and the Jimma Vegetable Production Centre established through the partnership of JU and KNU.  The Ambassador and the delegates had also a drive-through visit of the main campus, the College of Agriculture and the Kito Furdisa campus (Jimma Institute of Technology).