Jimma University conducted its 10th Annual Research Conference and the 9th Global Knowledge Exchange Network (GKEN) Interdisciplinary Knowledge Exchange event jointly co-hosted with GKEN, a network established by Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia residing in UK and beyond, to promote knowledge sharing and exchange in support of the developing world. The conference and the event was organized under the Theme:” “Giving Voice to Values of Education and Research for Nation Building” and held from April 18-19, 2019 at Jimma University Conference center.
A welcoming address was made by Dr. Tsige Ketema, Vice President for Research and Community Services. In her speech, Dr Tsige stated that research is a very powerful instrument to accelerate the pace of economic development of a nation irrespective of its wealth status. It is an important contributor to nation’s economic growth through generation of new idea and innovations, which will improve the quality of industrial outputs besides updating the existing technologies being used. Similarly, no country can achieve sustainable economic development without substantial investment in human capital. Education improves peoples’ understanding of themselves, and the world. It helps to improve the quality of their lives leading to broader social benefits both individual and society at large. She further highlighted that the likelihood of violent conflict doubles for countries with high level of inter group inequality in education. Educated society sets precedent for equal access to opportunity, financial assets, political power and fair distribution of resources.
Following the welcoming address, an opening remark was delivered by Jimma University’s Acting President, Mr. Kora Tushune. In the opening remark, he stated that the need to develop a knowledge-based society is a key part of our national policy, and the government is working to reform the education sector. Jimma University believes that education that harnesses the community, and research undertakings based on the felt needs of the society contributes towards national and global sustainable development goals. He also underlined that elevating research and education to a position of high strategic importance is crucial in higher learning institutions and in national development agenda of a country. He clearly underlined that “I believe, it is our responsibility to stimulate, facilitate, demand and celebrate the highest standards of research and education. It is only when we are able to do this that we can help our country achieve its national goals. Moreover, our universities must take a leadership role in the pursuit of an innovative and highly integrated education and research. We should be striving towards a research community which is defined by increased global connectedness and networks with international partners.”
The conference was attended by 600 participants from all universities in Ethiopia and 55 international participants from all over the world. The conference, for ten days after its closing, will be followed by series of workshops, block teaching sessions, trainings and public lectures across all colleges and institutes of Jimma University by seasoned professors from GKEN in order to impart their knowledge and experience to students and staff members of JU. Four lead papers were presented on the plenary session focusing more on the role that can be played by research and education for nation building and over hundred research papers were presented in the parallel sessions divided in to various disciplinary areas.
The conference participants, in their thorough discussion, agreed to advocate on revitalizing the contribution of research and education for nation building by providing inputs to policy makers and through all means available. For this, they called all scholars to join hands and contribute their share towards addressing the most contemporary challenges facing their country and its people.
Finally, the conference came to its conclusion by awarding certificates to all paper presenters and special certificates for best oral presenters from the parallel sessions.