New cooperation agreements have been signed with two Ethiopian universities. On the Hungarian side they have been authorized by dr. Norbert Kis, Vice-Rector for Continuing Education and International Affairs, while his partners on the Ethiopian part were prof. Fikadu Beyene, President of the Ethiopian Civil Service University, and dr. Goitom Tegeng, Director General, Head of International Relations at the Mekelle University.
Primarily the agreements concentrate on the organization of joint research programmes, conferences and forums, but they leave space for the establishment of common courses as well. The agreement signed with the Ethiopian Civil Service University extends the Erasmus+ programme whilst the document shared with the Mekelle University puts a 5-yr cooperation programme into action detailing joint scientific and educational activities related to the fields of public administration, public employee training, research and publication.
The said documents are parts of NUPS’ internationalization project allowing students from abroad to attend classes in the framework of the Stipendium Hungaricum and Erasmus+ mobility programmes. Dr. Kis said “NUPS is first and foremost committed to cooperation seeing that problems which affect everyone can be solved a lot easier in case we join forces.”
Márk Horváth, present at the event on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade declared that the documents signed will play an integral part of our future as Africa is a rapidly developing continent and is renowned for its excellent diplomacy. The education-oriented contracts will hopefully be followed by economic agreements in the upcoming years.
Solomon Fishia, head of the Ethiopian delegation welcomed the visit in general given that the Ethiopian government is currently implementing a reform involving the public sector regarding which the Hungarian trip has provided a number of lessons. Fikadu Beyene, President of the Ethiopian Civil Service University expressed his hope of exploring the national cultures as well as the world through the cooperation. “Our work together will turn mirrors into windows” – summed up the director the prospects in a metaphor. Dr. Goitom Tegeng, Director of the Mekelle University agreed to his colleagues and added: education is the key to our future.
Offering state- and regional level training for public servants, the Ethiopian Civil Service University was founded in 1995 and is located in Addis-Ababa. As part of the ECSU Vision programme it aims to become the leading university of Africa by 2025, creating transparency in the public administration.
Mekelle University lies about 800 kilometres far from the Ethiopian capital and has come to life with the merger of two other institutions of higher education: Mekelle Business College and Mekelle University College in May 2000. The university currently operates with seven faculties and eight institutions, offering 90 bachelor and 70 graduate level programmes. Mekelle University has approximately 31,000 students, roughly equalling 10% of Mekelle’s population.
Text: Dorottya Petery
Photos: Denes Szilagyi
“Today’s meeting is a milestone in the history of the Ethiopian-Hungarian relations” – said dr. Norbert Kis, Vice-Rector for Continuing Education and International Affairs on a reception called together to greet a fourteen-person African delegation consisting of Ethiopian officials. In addition to the exchange of thoughts, the purpose of the Ethiopian visit is to create a basis for further cooperation, including mutual aid with the Mekelle University. The delegation stays in our country till 3 July and shall participate in several conferences.
On the first programme of the week, Zita Szatmári Vágó representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade told the audience that the African visit is not only important for the National University of Public Service, but for the whole nation as it aligns with the government strategy of “Opening to the South”. Having recognized the potential of the black continent, it is in our best interest to expand the coalition network regarding diplomacy and education to the countries of the Sub-Saharan Africa – added the expert – especially since civil diplomacy is gaining a bigger and bigger role in our times.
Dr. Viktor Marsai, assistant professor at the Department of International Security Studies provided a brief history of the Hungarian-African relations and explained that due to political reasons the links between have lost their power after the Second World War. While Hungary was focusing on joining the European Union and the NATO as fast as possible, its connections to the southern continent have loosened. However, since the 2010s the focus has shifted again which is well reflected by a number of events, such as the African Forum organized in Budapest in 2013 and 2015. The opening policy of today’s government is also apparent by looking at the consulates launched or restarted during the past years, e.g. that in Abuja, Addis Ababa, Accra or Luanda.
Dr. Gábor Baranyai, Special Advisor to the Minister on sustainable utilization of natural resources held a lecture on the diplomatic significance of water resources. He noted that the preservation of transnational river basins lies in our common interest thereby providing a starting point for regional cooperation. “Although Europe sees a number of agreements centring on water governance, many of those are outdated” – warned the advisor. The renewal of these would be needed taking care of future issues, such as the potential of water shortage and scarcity. With urbanization and climate change, the years after 1990 have triggered various processes that can become dangerous unless we intervene in time. Good examples to follow lie in the Spanish-Portuguese and the American-Mexican cooperation – advised the expert.
Text: Dorottya Petery
Photos: Denes Szilagyi