Thanks to a grant from the Erasmus+ programme Aloysius Nnaji, International Coordinator at the University of Skövde, has spent ten days in Ethiopia. A trip that gave him good contacts, interesting meetings and new perspectives on life.
In order to deepen relations with Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular, Aloysius Nnaji applied for funding for a preparatory visit for overseas cooperation within the framework of the Erasmus+ programme. The application was approved and on the 9th of April it was time for Africa. Aloysius, who is a Swedish citizen now, is originally from Nigeria, but this was his first time in Ethiopia.
– Ethiopians are very positive and they have a big interest in developing education in their country, Aloysius describes. When it comes to lifestyle they are very human in nature, which is an attribute to their cultural and religious belief.
International Coordinator from the University of Skövde meets with the Deputy Head of Mission at the Swedish Embassy in Ethiopia.
Aloysius had a packed schedule and went from meeting to meeting to get the most out of his trip. One day he was privileged to meet the General Director of Higher Education Affairs in Ethiopia. He also managed to have a rendezvous with Anneka Knutsson, the Deputy Head of Mission at the Swedish Embassy in Ethiopia. Ms Knutsson expressed her gratitude for coming to Addis Ababa and happily informed about two projects that they have; research collaboration and developmental collaboration. She sees a lot of cooperation possibilities between Ethiopia and Sweden, an opinion that she shares with some of the leaders at universities in Ethiopia. Aloysius experienced that the Ethiopian higher education institutions are very positive to cooperate with the University of Skövde and that they are willing to invest money in teachers and professors from abroad who want to come and teach.
-The government is making a huge investment in the education sector. They have realized that they need professionals from other countries to train their teachers. They are open to a lot of different collaborations; teacher’s empowerment, sabbatical collaborations and exchange of Master students and PhDs, Aloysius concludes.
During his trip to Ethiopia Aloysius had the opportunity to meet both the management and some of the students at Addis Ababa University, Bahir Dar University and Wolkite University. The students were very curious about Sweden and the possibilities to go abroad to study an international Master’s Programme.
Meeting with students at Bahir Dar University in Ethiopia.
Addis Ababa University is the highest ranked university in Ethiopia and came in 16th place in a new African university ranking. The School of Informatics at the University of Skövde is currently conducting a Linnaeus-Palme project together with the Department of Computer Science at Addis Ababa University. They have already performed a planning trip and have received further funding for teacher exchange. This is a long term project that aims to strengthen the relationship between the two universities and to enable student exchange in the future. The University of Skövde also have Linnaeus-Palme projects with universities in Tanzania and Kenya, which is in line with the University’s strategic decision to prioritise collaborations with universities on the African continent.
A part from meeting a lot of eminent people with high positions, Aloysius also took the chance to have a chat with the locals to get to know the city and the culture in a better way. During his trip in Ethiopia he also learned a fundamental lesson on how to find happiness in life.
– The path to happiness is when we start to see ourselves and others as human beings and that we are all unique in different ways. Respect and inclusiveness motivate us as colleagues. Travelling to meet other partner universities opens your mind as you start to reflect upon internationalisation, but also about what’s important in life.
One can conclude that Sweden and Ethiopia has a lot to learn from each other, a lesson that has yet only begun.
/Sofia Maier, International Office