Worcester Polytechnic Institute Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Two African Universities

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Dr. Tjama Tjivikua, Rector; The Polytechnic of Namibia (in Windhoek, Namibia) with President Parrish.

Front Row: Dr. Tjivikua, President Parrish, Dr. Eshiwani
Back Row: H.E. (His Excellency) Leonard N. Iipumbu, Ambassador with the Republic of Namibia, Neavera Olivier, Director of Planning and International Relations; The Polytechnic of Namibia, Paul Davis, Dean Interdisciplinary & Global Studies Division, Arthur Gerstenfeld, Professor, Management Dept., H.E. (His Excellency) Nahas Angula, Minister of Higher Education, The Republic of Namibia.

WORCESTER, Mass. - May 21, 2002 - Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has signed memorandums of understanding (MOU) with two African institutions of high education. Dr. Tkjama Tjivukua, rector, and Ms. Neavera Olivier, dir. of planning and international relations for the Polytechnic of Namibia and Dr. George S. Eshiwani, vice chancellor of Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya signed agreements with WPI to begin academic and cultural exchanges and joint research activities.

WPI President Edward A. Parrish and Paul Davis, head of the university's interdisciplinary and global studies project center (IGSD) signed the agreements on behalf of WPI. Dr. Leonard Iipumbo, Ambassador of the Republic of Namibia, and Dr. Nahas Angula, minister of education witnessed the signing.

"This is an exciting opportunity for the Polytechnic of Namibia and WPI," said Dr. Tjivukua. "WPI's mission statement is very complimentary to what we do - at the Polytechnic we also incorporate knowledge, skills and practice into our curriculum. We look at how WPI has been important in America's development throughout its history of over a hundred and thirty years. Our institution is only seven years old, but we want to be like WPI as we progress."

Dr. Eshiwani of Kenyatta University was intrigued by WPI's unique programs and distance learning. "We found that WPI had many unique programs, particularly its fire protection engineering program. We hope to become a center of education in that area," he said. "Distance learning will also give us an opportunity to collaborate."

"We are honored to be working with these two institutions to share our research resources with one another, and to jointly participate in the exchange of students and faculty," said Dr. Parrish. The MOU covers additional activities including undergraduate student project activities; joint supervision of postgraduate student projects; joint applications for research funding; facilitation of access to analytical facilities; participation in seminars and academic meetings and other mutually beneficial activities.

WPI has been awarded three Business and International Education Program grants from the U.S. Department of Education. "We award these grants to programs that improve academic teaching of business curriculum, to conduct outreach to U.S. businesses that engage in international commerce," said Sarah Beaton, of the U.S. Department of Education. "WPI is one of only two programs that focus on Africa. We are very pleased that WPI put together the New England Africa Business Conference, created New England Africa business partnerships and is moving ahead with these agreements. We are proud to be a co-sponsor."

WPI will begin sending students and faculty to Namibia later this year. Interest on campus was extremely high, according to Prof. Art Gerstenfeld who oversees WPI's African project centers. "We received more than 50 applications for the 15 slots for the Namibia program."

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