WSU bolsters relationships with African universities

Asif Chaudhry addressing audience in Nigeria
Vice President of International Programs Asif Chaudhry speaks during a visit to Nigeria in November of 2023.

Washington State University is expanding its relationships with universities in central and western Africa as part of ongoing efforts to further scholarly exchange and leverage expertise to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

“We’re excited to be forging new partnerships with universities that share our commitment to academic excellence, problem-solving, and professional development,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. “Washington State University has tremendous opportunities to leverage these bonds in ways that benefit not only our academic and research capacities but also our ability to help improve lives and communities globally.”

The university recently signed memorandums of understanding with six African universities, committing the institutions to three principal goals:

  • Broaden education access
  • Enhance food security
  • Promote health equity by addressing health detriments and vulnerability to disease

To meet these goals, WSU is actively seeking faculty members interested in working with their colleagues in Burundi, Ghana and Nigeria across a variety of fields, including public health, agriculture, and education. The university is also actively working on grant proposals that will further its initiatives in the region.

“We’re actively seeking opportunities to not only leverage our faculty’s expertise, but to bring students and researchers from these universities to WSU to benefit from their perspectives and experiences,” Paul Whitney, associate vice president for International Programs, said. “Our corporate partners like Boeing and Microsoft are also keen to hire WSU graduates who have experience working internationally, so it behooves all parties involved to explore ways to provide more of these opportunities.

The list of universities that WSU recently signed memorandums of understand with includes:

Increased visibility is already leading to shifts in international student demographics at WSU. This fall, Nigeria was the source of the second most international first-year students. The combination of WSU’s increased visibility and the need for workforce development in the region is expected to bring more students to the university.

The university isn’t limiting its relationship-building to central and western Africa. WSU is also developing stronger ties with the University of Nairobi by establishing the first dual doctoral degree for its students. WSU Global Health-Kenya – a non-governmental organization promoting public health and equity- is also doing important work in the region to address pressing challenges.

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