The JU – IUC program has been operational at JU and the network of Flemish Universities in Belgium since 2007 and was funded by VLIR-UOS and Belgian Directorate General for Development (DGD). The decade old program has been very instrumental in building staff capacity, creating the forum for sharing experiences, producing very high quality scientific findings, huge number of staff mobility and short term trainings, and what is more is, the creation of huge and very strong network of professionals and family hood between JU and the institutions in the VLIR-IUC network. JU through this program has trained about 55 staff members at PHD level in various disciplines and many more short term trainings and staff mobility has taken place between JU and the Flemish Universities network.
The program has finally phased out on a colorful ceremony held at JU on the 15th -16th September, 2017 followed by the launching of Ethiopia Country Network Program. The program has been evaluated by many as one of the most impressive and astonishingly successful program with immense contribution in building capacity, sharing experience and above all leaving a very strong legacy of team spirit and network among the institutions took part in it.
At the opening of the workshop, Professor Fikre Lemessa, President of JU stated that the project brought highly dedicated and vigorous people together from the north and the south who have made all the necessary efforts towards achieving the goals of the program. The seeds that we planted a decade ago took root, grown and matured to show us such a very big success because of the relentless efforts of all those people working together. That immensely helped us to register remarkable results with lasting impacts.
Present on the occasion and the guest of honor of the event Dr. Kaba Urgessa, Minster of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources on his part underlined that the program was initiated at a key moment in JU’s institutional development and has been able to significantly contribute to major change process related to the improvements of teaching and research capacities in the institution and even beyond.
He has stressed that the JU-IUC program will have to be considered as a benchmark for other programs of similar nature in our tertiary education system and went on further recommending that the experience gained by JU through collaboration with Flemish universities, needs to be leveraged to country level by establishing strong partnership forum among universities in the country as a way to expand the scale and magnitude of the impact and sustainability of the program.
Professor Anne De Paepe, Rector of University of Ghent has also appreciated the success of the program and the impact that it has registered in many aspects. It has set a very high standard in managing a project and achieving intended goals. She has also highlighted that the marvelous experiences and success stories obtained from the project have to be replicated in a way that other similar institutions can learn from it. She has also encouraged all the institutions involved in the network and other stakeholders to take credible and solid steps towards ensuring the sustainability of the project impacts.
The flag of the JU-IUC program was pulled down and the bill board of the Ethiopia Country Network Program was officially opened in the presence of all the dignitaries and participants of the event, marking the end of the JU-IUC program and the launching of the country network program.
The two days ceremonial event on September 5 and 6, 2017 was followed by four days visits to different core labs and research institutes at JU and later on to the partner Universities of the Country Network Program that includes Ambo University, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Bishoftu and Hawassa University.