Written By: Ms Nodumo Dhlamini, Director ICT Services, Communications and Knowledge Management at AAU
Professor Olusola Oyewole, the Secretary General of the Association of African Universities, joined eminent African Higher Education leaders to deliberate on the University of Toronto-Africa partnership initiative in Toronto, Canada. The event themed “Partnership for Mutual Excellence and Inclusive Impact” took place on Thursday, 23 June 2022 and was organized by the University of Toronto Scarborough and the Office of the Vice President International under the guidance of the Presidential International Council for Africa.
Key African institutions that were represented included the African Research Universities Alliance, Association of the Development of Education in Africa, Ashesi University, African Leadership University, Amref International University, Addis Ababa University, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, the diplomatic community and other distinguished institutions.
The event featured Professor Wisdom Tettey, Vice-President of the University of Toronto and Principal of the University of Toronto Scarborough and Professor Joseph Wong, Vice-President International, University of Toronto. Other speakers were Professor Cheryl Regehr, Provost of University of Toronto and Professor Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, former Vice Chancellor of the United States International University Africa.
The meeting emphasized “action over talk and putting of ideas into action”. Attendees deliberated on concrete actions to foster collaborative research, accelerate joint publishing, and support graduate and undergraduate students.
Professor Wisdom Tettey explained that collaboration was at the core of everything that the University of Toronto Scarborough does. As a campus they are devoted to inclusive excellence, and believe that they can only be successful if they ensure that they have a variety of voices at the table, actively involved in their decision making. Prof Tettey said that the University of Toronto Scarborough was convinced that by working together across communities, across departments, and across disciplines, practical ideas develop that enrich their knowledge and improve their collective results. Thus the event’s key goal was to strengthen and co-create the University of Toronto’s relationships throughout Africa.
Topics discussed included emerging African priorities from the perspectives of African participants, as well as exploring deeper engagements with the continent. Research Partnerships were also discussed, focusing on specific ideas and identifying areas of common scholarly interests for working together. Participants deliberated on ways to encourage joint publications, support training for graduate students and identify joint resource mobilisation opportunities. Other topics covered included entrepreneurship and innovation, talent enhancement, mobility, and networks, University of Toronto-Africa global classrooms, co-learning and building the next generation of leaders.
The University of Toronto is a key center for research collaborations, academic initiatives, and capacity building with African universities and partners. It is also is home to hundreds of Africanists, Africa-related researchers and over 1400 African students.