Jimma University was founded on the amalgamation of the the Jimma Institute of Health Science and the Jimma College of Agriculture in the 1980’s. Both institutions had been national leaders in their respective fields, and with the merger, the development of a new, multifaceted and development oriented institution was able to emerge from the two former specialty institutions. Throughout the 1990’s Ethiopia as a nation was determined to overcome the significant development challenges facing the country. Such challenges were found in all sectors of society and in all regions. Given this reality, new institutions needed to be developed in a manner that would be conducive to the development of the nation. A well- conceived and applicable higher education institutional development scheme was necessary for the broader development of the country. Numerous new higher education institutions were founded all over the country while existing institutions were strengthened and expanded upon. No institution of higher education in the country represents this expansion and strengthening of programs more than Jimma University.
While outside the capital, Jimma University has had the ability to maintain a standard of education not found elsewhere in the country. Jimma University has become a hub of intellectual and academic activity that attracts thought leaders, innovators, educators and leaders from around the country. Jimma University is frequently named the top ranked public institution in the nation, and this comes from the quality of each academic program.
Jimma University has a history of international collaboration which has set the ground work for it to be a truly global institution. With international partners from the University of Oklahoma in the United States, Jimma University’s parent institution the Jimma College of Agriculture was founded to address matters of agriculture in the 1960’s. Jimma University has hosted partners from all around the world for decades. Such long term partners include foreign teaching staff from India and the Philippines, Cuban doctors and development professionals, American and European doctors and public health professionals, and Asian development partners from South Korea, Japan and China. Foreign partners often regard Jimma University as a unique, yet little known major institution of research and higher education. A variety of foreign partners, scholars, and researchers have successfully published articles, engaged in globally relevant scientific research, and have worked on Ph.D dissertations at Jimma University.
Today, Jimma University has numerous Memorandums of Understanding’s with a variety of partners from around the world. Jimma University emphasizes that the power of collaboration is greatest when there is the most diverse set of international partners. In light of this, today Jimma University has partnerships from various African, eastern and western European, Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian, East Asian, Latin American, and North American partners.
Jimma University is in a critical development stage, and with the physical and programmatic development of the institution, the goal of becoming a globally collaborative and competitive university which produces the highest quality academic and research output yearly will surely be achieved.