The Austrian-African Research Network (Africa-UniNet) was established in order to create a long-term and stable basis for cooperation between Austrian and African universities and research institutions. The kick-off meeting and first General Assembly of the Africa-UniNet took place from 30th - 31st of January 2020 at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna. Representatives of 63 African and 19 Austrian universities and research institutions participated in the meeting, among them several former scholars from Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Namibia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Uganda, who were nominated by their institutions as representatives. This shows the important roles scholars and alumni play to build and strengthen scientific networks with their former host institution in Austria.
During the meeting the network was officially inaugurated and the general and legal framework of the research network was discussed. The common vision and mission as well as the first activities of the network were debated and specified with the first call for international cooperation projects envisaged to be opened in July 2020. Furthermore the Africa-UniNet Board members and country coordinators were elected.
OeAD is pleased that two of our former scholarship holders were elected as country coordinators. Fredrick Nyongesa Kassilly received his Doctorate from BOKU financed by the North-South Dialogue Scholarship Programme. He is a Professor of Conservation Biology and the Deputy Principal in Academic and Student Affairs of Turkana University College in Kenya.
Esther Mukooza was nominated for her PhD within an APPEAR project. She completed her PhD in Medical Anthropology at University of Vienna and represented St. Lawrence University in Uganda. Both scholarships werde financed by the Austrian Developement Cooperation.
On the first evening Africa-UniNet members were invited to a festive reception hosted by the Ministry of Education, Science and Research. We captured statements of our alumni Esther Mukooza and Guibien Cleophas Zerbo and of our current APPEAR scholarship holder Jacqueline Murekasenge.
Listen to what they think about the new Africa-UniNet.
While the network was initiated by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF), the Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research (OeAD-GmbH) and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) were asked to launch it and therefore to prepare the first General Assembly.
Listen to the Welt im Ohr podcast about the "Africa-UniNet“ (only available in German)