The University of Botswana has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Justus Liebig University Giessen of Germany. The purpose of the MoU is to establish and promote cooperative academic relationships in research and teaching as well as to develop joint projects between the two institutions.
Vice Chancellor, Professor David Norris, signed on behalf of the University of Botswana, while Justus Liebig University Vice Chancellor, Professor Joybrato Murkhejee, signed on behalf of his institution. Professor Murkhejee is also DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Vice President of DAAD.
Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony on August 13, 2019, Professor Norris said the University of Botswana had been part of the German-Botswana relationship which dated back to Botswana’s independence in 1966. Professor Norris said it was through this relationship that several research-based projects had been accomplished through the Friedrich Ebet Foundation which sponsored a number of projects on human rights, gender and HVI/AIDS.
“Our records indicate that in the past 10 years, the University of Botswana has had up to seven MoUs with German academic institutes, three of which are still active,” said Professor Norris.
He added that since 2011 when UB had its first Humbodtian awardee in Professor Musa Dube, more staff members had received research grants, post-doctoral grants and conference funds from the Humblodt Foundation.
Further, Professor Norris said other members of staff, projects and students have also benefited from DAAD. He noted that the Humanities Koblenz-Landau DAAD sponsored exchange project which had been active since 2004 had immensely benefited both UB students and staff.
“We have other ongoing collaborative DAAD sponsored projects such as those headed by Professor Kirstin Marobela,” he observed.
Professors Norris said UB was attracted to DAAD because of how closely the UB mission seemed to align with the main focus areas of the organisation such as internationalisation, academic collaborations and improving the economic and social conditions of people through exchange programmes.
He expressed hope that DAAD would work with UB to start a German language centre which would lay a solid foundation for more enriched student and staff exchanges between Botswana and Germany.
In response, Professor Murkhejee commended UB for excellent infrastructure and the vision it shared with his institution. He recounted the history of Justus Liebig University which he said underpinned the institution's research culture.
The University was established in 1607 and named after Justus Liebig whom professor Murkhejee described as the father of modern chemistry because he was a great researcher.
He noted that as such the University was keen on nurturing young researchers and such would form the basis for their cooperation with UB. Professor Burkhejee said it was crucial to catch young talent very early in their careers.