N.C. A&T, Senegalese University Sign Collaborative Agreement
Senegal’s largest university and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University have signed a memorandum of understanding, which will entail student and faculty exchanges, as well as possibilities for collaborative research and outreach.
University Cheikh Anta Diop, a Senegalese university with an enrollment of 26,000 students, and N.C. A&T have complementary strengths and serve students with similar interests, says Dr. Earnestine Psalmonds, A&T’s vice chancellor for research.
“Cheikh Anta Diop has a strong reputation in science and technology, as well as in languages and other humanities,” says Psalmonds. “They also have expressed solid commitment to study-abroad programs for faculty and students. Working with them, our faculty and students will have opportunities to learn from top-notch scholars, and the same will hold true for their faculty and students.”
A delegation of 10 Cheikh Anta Diop faculty and administrators recently visited A&T in conjunction with the signing. Among the visitors was Dr. Oumar Sock, director of the University Polytechnic at Cheikh Anta Diop. Sock’s son has enrolled at A&T this semester to study computer science.
“Dr. Psalmonds has been like a mother for past Senegalese students enrolled at A&T,” says Sock. “That kind of commitment and the quality of A&T’s faculty and the overall institution makes us feel like we have a partner with whom we can develop a mutually beneficial kinship.”
Though the signed agreement is new, A&T’s involvement with the West African nation is not. Dr. Abolghasem Shahbazi is participating in a project aimed at improving access to electricity in rural Senegalese areas. Dr. Mohamed Ahmedna is working with Senegalese researchers to develop a high-protein, cholesterol-free meat substitute from a peanut byproduct. And Psalmonds has visited the university and Senegalese research institutions to discuss possible linkages.
These developments followed an April 1996 visit from a Senegalese contingent, which included Senegal’s Minister of the Interior, and a 2000 visit by Sock.
Technology transfer, the commercializing of technology developed at the university, is one route to economic development that is of particular interest to the Senegalese delegation, who want to explore joint technology transfer ventures between the two institutions. Mentioned in the discussion of technology transfer was a solar-powered refrigerator, designed by Senegalese engineers to preserve vaccines.
Under the agreement, collaboration among Cheikh Anta Diop faculty, Shahbazi and other A&T scientists involved in solar energy would be facilitated, says Psalmonds.
“The interdisciplinary, inter-institutional and international agreement is a reaffirmation of the relationship between Cheikh Anta Diop and A&T,” says Psalmonds. “We have formalized our working relationship and look forward to the opportunities that it will provide.”
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