UG and University of Bonn Strengthen Partnerships during Official Visit to Bonn

Prof. Felix Asante, Pro-VC, RID and Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Michael Hoch, Rector of the University of Bonn in a handshake after the signing of the MOU. Looking on are Vice-Rector for International Affairs, Prof. Dr. Birgit Ulrike Münch (Left) and Prof. Eric Osei-Assibey, Dean of International Programmes, UG (Right)

The University of Ghana (UG) and the University of Bonn (Uni Bonn) have engaged in discussions on enhancing existing partnerships and forging new ones for the mutual benefit of both institutions.

On the invitation of Uni Bonn, a three-member delegation, led by Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Development, Prof. Felix Ankomah Asante, was in Bonn to take part in activities marking the opening of the 2023 academic year and International Days as well as engage in discussions on possible research collaborations with various units in the University. He was accompanied by Prof. Eric Osei-Assibey, Dean of International Programmes and Ms. Pascaline Songsore, Senior Assistant Registrar, Public Affairs Directorate.

A key feature of the visit was the signing of a memorandum of understanding to guide collaborative virtual student exchanges between the two institutions. Known as the Katekisama programme, it will enable Doctoral and other students enrolled in the two institutions to undertake courses virtually within the mobility framework and earn credits while doing so. The formalisation of the agreement follows a successful pilot in the 2022/23 academic year, spearheaded by the Centre for Migration Studies at UG.

In welcome remarks before the signing ceremony, Vice-Rector, Prof. Dr. Birgit Ulrike Münch, conveyed the University of Bonn’s pleasure at hosting the UG delegation. She recounted the intention to start the strategic partnership between the two institutions in 2020 but which due to the COVID 19 pandemic had to be stalled.

Prof. Asante extended Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nana Aba Amfo’s regards to the Rector and his team. He gave an overview of the University of Ghana, stating the new research priorities of UG, which broadly focus on climate change adaptation, food production and processing, development policy drafting and monitoring, creative arts, politics and socio-cultural change, AI and data science, infectious and non-infectious diseases. He emphasised the trans-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary nature of the research priorities and the fact that they aligned with that of Uni Bonn.

On existing collaborations with Uni Bonn, the Pro Vice-Chancellor also mentioned that the DAAD sponsored PHD programme between the two institutions, which has been running for the past 15 years will end in December 2023. He hinted on a new collaborative project focusing on food diversification among researchers from both institutions.

The UG delegation in a pose with the team at the International Office

Prof. Asante expressed the hope that the relationship between UG and Uni Bonn will be deepened to provide opportunities for faculty and staff exchanges for the mutual benefit of both partners.

Prof. Dr. Dr. Hoch, who is the 143rd Rector of Uni Bonn, noted that he was impressed about the broadness of disciplines being studied at UG which differs from the higher education system in Germany, where universities have specialisations. He stressed the importance of academic corporations that result in funded projects. He recognised the existing partnerships between the two institutions which include projects with UG’s Department of Philosophy and Classics and the Center for Development Research (ZEF)-UG collaboration. The Rector gave a presentation on the University of Bonn, highlighting the governance structure, the seven faculties and their various Transdisciplinary Research Areas (TRA) and Clusters of Excellence.

Prof. Asante and Prof. Osei-Assibey, signed the MOU on behalf of UG, while Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Michael Hoch, Rector of the University of Bonn, signed on behalf of his institution. The ceremony was witnessed by Vice-Rector for International Affairs, Prof. Dr. Birgit Ulrike Münch, Director of the Centre for Migration Studies, UG, Prof. Mary Setrana, Assistant Professor Maximilian Mayer, Center for Advanced Security, Strategic and Integration Studies (CASSIS) and Senior Assistant Registrar, UG Public Affairs Directorate, Ms. Pascaline Songsore, UG as well as other staff of the Rectorate at Uni Bonn.

A group photograph taken after the signing ceremony.

Over the five-day visit period the UG delegation took part in strategic meetings with the international office as well as a global fair, where various partnerships with other research centres were showcased. There was also a panel discussion on the topic, “African-European Perspectives on Migration: Advancing the Field through Transdisciplinarity” featuring the Director of the Centre for Migration Studies, Prof. Dr. Mary Setrana.

This visit to the University of Bonn has consolidated already existing partnerships and paved the way for further collaboration between the two institutions.