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CAPACITY BUILDING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR U.S – ZIMBABWE COOPERATION IN HIGHER EDUCATION

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A delegation from the United States of America’s Embassy in Harare was on campus today for a Capacity Building and Professional Development For U.S – Zimbabwe Cooperation in Higher Education workshop to engage the Harare Institute of Technology’s leadership, professional and academic staff responsible for the Institute’s Internationalisation, research and grant management, student services and international studies.

Dr Mark Johnson, a Fullbright Policy Specialist from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, School of Education was accompanied by Mr John Hishmeh, a Higher Education Officer from the U.S Embassy in Harare.

In his opening remarks, Dr Johnson said his mission is to engage and connect HIT with the U.S institutions of higher education. He emphasise that the focus areas for capacity building and professional education for U.S-Zimbabwe cooperation in higher education should include university to university, peer to peer as well as professional to professionals entered as equals.

“We are also looking multi-university projects to develop university research administration capacity and undergraduate research programmes with significant interest in Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) and ways of knowing, especially those related to ecology , health and medicine. There is also the potential to link HIT’s Schools, departments, Centres of Excellence and its Innovation Hub with U.S universities.

“U.S universities can also partner with Zimbabwean institutions of higher education in textbooks and curriculum development projects as well conducting peer reviewed research in IKS related to health and medicine,” said Dr Mark Johnson.

Mr John Hishmeh said he really appreciates the re-engagement efforts between the Zimbabwean and United States governments, emphasizing that his office is responsible for bringing the people of the two governments together by facilitating and validating collaboration between American institutions of higher education and other institutions outside of the U.S. “HIT is doing very well in the allied health sciences, engineering as well as information sciences and technology,” he said.

The U.S Embassy in Harare is working in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Council of Higher Education (ZIMCHE) identify the key areas in which universities might expand capacity building and professional development in support of building U.S – Zimbabwean university partnerships.

The delegation is currently visiting three leading research-intensive Zimbabwean universities to analyse their existing infrastructure for internationalisation and identify institutional priorities for strategic development and international research cooperation. These institutions include the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT), Africa University and Chinhoyi University of Technology.

The programme which ran from 5 -19 November 2022 also included a tour of the Universities’’ campuses by the U.S delegation.

The Fulbright Programme is led by the United States government in partnership with more than 160 countries worldwide, offering international educational and cultural exchange programmes for passionate and accomplished students, scholars, artists, teachers, and professionals of all backgrounds to study, teach, or pursue important research and professional project.

The main objective is to improve intercultural relations, cultural diplomacy, and intercultural competence between the people of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills.

The workshop was attended by the ZIMCHE CEO, Professor K.P Dzvimbo, HIT Pro Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Commercialiasation, Dr Eng. T. Garikayi, the Librarian Mr J.L Maenzanise, directors of various departments, the Institute Chaplain and all the deans.

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