The Association of African Universities (AAU), Africa’s apex higher education organization established in November 1967, has signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Nottingham, a top-ranked university in the UK founded as University College Nottingham in 1877 and granted a royal charter in 1948, to promote collaborations that will mutually benefit higher education institutions in both Africa and Europe.
This MoU mandates the University of Nottingham to provide an office space with a dedicated Desk Officer to centrally coordinate AAU’s existing and emerging partnerships in Europe while the two institutions also work together to develop mutually acceptable proposals as co-applicants to potential funders. Equally important, the MOU obliges the AAU to provide guidance to Nottingham on the Association’s new focal areas, including but not limited to the promotion of technical and vocational education and training; the promotion of the AAU Africa Research, Innovation and Development (AFRID) Network that seeks to mobilise African institutions and researchers to generate a critical mass of human resources to support continental initiatives; and the strengthening of the AAU multimedia platform, the AAU Television, as Africa’s premier continental television station that promotes African scholarly works. The two institutions have also agreed, under the MOU, to collaborate in specific areas to advance academic excellence such as staff, researchers and students’ capacity building, quality assurance, resource mobilization, ICT and other infrastructural development.
The AAU Secretary-General, Prof. Olusola Bandele Oyewole, and the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Global Engagement of the University of Nottingham, Prof. Robert Mokaya OBE, respectively appended their signatures to the agreement for their institutions. Expressing his excitement about the Agreement, Prof. Oyewole noted that despite the AAU having a number of partnerships with institutions in Europe, “University of Nottingham has become a home and focal point to AAU member universities and its other networks for effective partnerships with European counterparts, particularly with the University of Nottingham itself that has emerged as a world-class, research-intensive university whose research transforms lives and shapes futures.
The partnership will be hosted by the University of Nottingham’s School of Education and led by Professor Juliet Thondhlana, who is also the UNESCO Chair in International Education and Development. Juliet Thondhlana, Professor of International Education and Development at the University of Nottingham said: “International collaboration is essential to teaching and research. The university is developing a new strategy for engaging with partners in Africa, at the core of which is developing equitable partnerships with collaborators, so we are delighted to be partnering with the AAU to advance research and innovation across our continents. I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together as our collaboration grows further.”
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