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Promoting Partnership: UMass Boston and Addis Ababa University Continue to Collaborate


On April 14 and 15, a high-level delegation from Addis Ababa University (AAU) visited UMass Boston to further the ongoing collaboration between the two universities. The six-member delegation was headed by the board chair, H.E. Mr. Kassa Tekle-Berhan, who is also speaker of the House of Federation in Ethiopia and included the president of Addis Ababa University, Admasu Tsegaye; board members H.E. Mr. Mekuria Haile, minister of urban development, housing and construction; Mr. Berhan Hailu, former minister of justice and former minister of information; engineer Samson Bekure; and Araya Asfaw, executive director of the Horn of Africa Regional Environmental Centre and Network.

At the opening session of the visit, Chancellor J. Keith Motley, Provost Winston Langley, and the delegation members signed an official letter of commitment for collaboration in the areas of environment, sustainability and climate change, and conflict prevention and resolution, which set out the universities’ intentions to develop dual MA and PhD programs, pursue joint funding opportunities, develop online curricula, and exchange faculty and students to conduct research, develop collaborative projects, or to teach courses.

UMass Boston and AAU have been serious collaborators for a number of years building on the partnership that Professor Maria Ivanova (Center for Governance and Sustainability at McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies) and Asfaw established in 2008. Michael Denney, an alumnus of the Graduate Program in International Relations and current PhD student in global governance and human security, spent two summers working in the Gambella region of Ethiopia on environmental issues. The visit by the leadership of Addis Ababa University marks the fruit of all these previous engagements and the plans for moving forward.

In August 2013, UMass Boston received a $3.1 million grant from the IGERT (Integrative Graduate Research and Traineeship) program of the National Science Foundation and AAU is the key international collaborating partner. Over the next five years, UMass Boston will train a number of PhD students in the interdisciplinary program on Coasts and Communities and students will travel to the Horn of Africa, where they will work with AAU faculty and graduate students on studying and solving environmental problems.