Officials From Africa To Visit UVA To Discuss Consortium
May 23, 2002-- Top officials
from four universities in southern Africa will visit the University
of Virginia May 27-29 to talk about forming a consortium with far-reaching
implications in education, research, health care and public policy.
consortium would expand relationships with U.Va. built over the
past 25 years and would encourage collaborative work in environmental
sciences, long-distance learning, international studies and HIV
Brazao Mazula, vice chancellor of the University of Eduardo Mondlane
in Mozambique; G.M. Nkondo, vice chancellor of the University of
Venda in South Africa; Sharon Siverts, vice chancellor of the University
of Botswana; and Luis G. Nongxa, deputy vice chancellor of the University
of Witwatersrand, also in South Africa, will meet with U.Va. President
John T. Casteen III. Scientists and officials from the U.S. State
Department, the World Wildlife Fund, the National Academy of Sciences
and the National Research Council also will participate. Vice chancellors
at African universities are equivalent to presidents at U.S. universities.
started developing partnerships with individual African universities
beginning in 1974, when its scientists collaborated with researchers
at the University of
Witwatersrand to conduct tropical meteorology experiments. This
led to student and faculty exchanges, expanded research and a seminar
series last fall that used state-of-the-art technology to link students
and scientists on both continents in real time.
the conference, we plan to discuss and ratify the conversion of
our present institutional partnerships into a consortium for research,
education and outreach to policy makers," said Jeffrey Plank,
assistant vice president for research and public service.
first two days of the conference will be devoted to informal discussions
and workshops. On Wednesday, representatives from all the universities
will discuss building a regional approach to environmental research,
education and sustainable development in southern Africa.
are trying to develop new and innovative education projects in southern
Africa," said Hank Shugart, W.W. Corcoran Professor of Environmental
Sciences and director of U.Va.s Global Environmental Change
Program. "We are coordinating our work at a new level and hope
this is a first step in intensive African interaction in education,
research and training."
members hope to strengthen the southern Africa regional environmental
community through educational programs in environmental sciences
and professional development programs for policy makers. Their goal
is to close the gap between research and policy by convening groups
of natural resources stakeholders representing governments and international
conservation organizations, property owners and experts in ecosystem
research and environmental law.
consortium plans to further develop a collaborative international
learning infrastructure, to upgrade existing field stations in critical
ecosystems and to convene transnational science-to-policy groups.
One goal is to develop a range of distance learning courses for
students to pursue advanced degrees at U.Va. and WITS. Exchange
programs and classes and field research will complement these courses.
the workshop, U.Va. and the World Wildlife Fund plan to sign a memorandum
of understanding to establish a working relationship for initiatives
involving environmental management issues and research in Africa,
Latin and South America and other rapidly developing regions. This
relationship will further benefit the consortium's initiatives.
Fariss Samarrai, (434) 924-3778 or Lee Graves, (434) 924-6857