The African Regional Institute for Geospatial Information Science and Technology (AFRIGIST), under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), has requested a partnership with the University of Liberia (UL) aimed at collaborating for the Ph.D. program in Geography or Demography, among others.
AFRIGIST Executive Director Dr. Adewale Akingbade said he and his team visited UL Thursday, 17 June to explore ways they can work with the university through a memorandum of understanding to bring AFRIGIST’s standards to UL for lecture and for students to be a part of research at UL when Liberia becomes a member state of AFRIGIST.
“So we can have a collaboration to have a Ph.D. program in Geography, on Land Administration or Demography,” Dr. Akingbade said.
Apart from their long-term courses from technology level to Ph.D. levels, Dr. Akingbade revealed that AFRIGIST also runs consultancy activities, standard short courses as well as customized training, among others, noting that these are areas that they can collaborate with the University of Liberia. He suggested that the University of Liberia, AFRIGIST, Liberia Institute for Geo-Information Services (LISGIS), and the Ministry of Mines and Energy can put heads together to meet the specific needs of Liberia.
Dr. Akingbade said Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Egypt, Nigeria, and Senegal, among others, are making contributions to the institution, while Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, and Liberia have shown interest. Explaining the procedure to acquire membership, Mr. Joseph Olouroi of AFRIGIST said the first step is to express interest in joining the institution, noting that Liberia has done that since 2015 through a communication written by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He added that the next step is the payment of membership fees after which the Flag of Liberia will be put [among the member states’ flags] before the country can start sending students for scholarships.
Welcoming the guests, the President of the University of Liberia Prof. Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson said he was happy that Liberia’s Ambassador to Nigeria Amb. Al – Hassan Conteh, had contacted the university, urging it to meet with the AFRIGIST delegates because it would be in the interest of the university.
Dr. Nelson assured that his administration will do its part to make sure that the partnership between UL and AFRIGIST is continued in an institutionalized way, noting that his Vice President for Institutional Development and Planning, Prof. Weade Kobbah – Boley will coordinate the university team to see how the institution can explore the possibility for the memorandum of understanding with AFRIGIST.
Subsequently Prof. Weade Kobbah – Boley said when it comes to determining what goes into the MOU from both sides, that’s where her roles and functions are, saying most of the programs at the University of Liberia are being improved and upgraded, and her role is to forge partnership and monitor, once they are established.
Also speaking at the meeting were UL’s Executive Director for Research Institute Dr. Agnes Reeves Taylor; Dr. Darren Wilkins, Vice President for Information Technology; Dr. James McClain, Dean of the College of Science and Technology; Prof. Thomas Kaydor; Mr. Aaron Tobgah of LISGIS; Mr. Torwon Tony Yarthy, Adjunct Faculty, Geography Department and Executive Director, Liberia Geographical Society (LGS), among others. By Winston W. Parley