US Professors, Liberian Education Stakeholders Brainstorm on Research

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Drs. Barnes and Weeks shake hands shortly after signing an MoU with Amb. Elder stands.

As Research, with specific reference in the Sciences, takes preeminence in contemporary education, two university professors visiting from the United States, Dr. Wayne Sanderson and Dr. Tim Barnes, both from the University of Kentucky, have reached a consensus with the University of Liberia (UL) to conduct research, mainly in the area of Public Health and other areas.

Drs. Sanderson and Barnes were in Monrovia from June 16 to 21, and their visit came through the instrumentality of the U.S. Embassy near Monrovia to meet with Liberian education administrators for the Public Health partnership.

While in the country, the two men conducted two workshops in conjunction with the Association of Liberian Universities at the Embassy’s America Center under the themes, “The Role of Research in Higher Education,” and “Trends in the U.S. Higher Education.”

The workshop drew together representatives from Liberian universities, colleges and communities, who discussed with their U.S. counterparts issues including higher education funding, community and alumni outreach, faculty development, internationalization and partnerships.

The two U.S. professors made presentations at the UL’s “Lux Talk” forum on “Universities and Challenges in the 21st Century”, while other issues discussed included fundraising, globalization and partnerships, and an American Public university’s response to local health needs.

On June 20, the U.S. professors and UL President, Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the UL and UK (University of Kentucky) to promote a cooperative relationship through mutual assistance in the areas of education, research, and engagement.

U.S. Ambassador Christine Elder in a release noted:  “There is tremendous potential benefit in collaboration and exchange between these two great institutions of higher education.”

Dr. Sanderson is a professor of Epidemiology at the University of Kentucky’s School of Public Health, while Dr. Barnes is the University of Kentucky’s Executive Director of International Partnerships and Research Center.

The release from the U.S. Embassy did not state reasons behind the concentration on Public Health during the visit of the two professors; however, Public Health from Liberia’s experience of Ebola in 2014 left the health sector with the consciousness of exploring in Public Health to get the country prepared for feature challenges.

Apart from training the U.S. Government through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provided public health workers during the Ebola crisis, they also commenced the construction of a modern headquarters of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) adjacent the Ministry of Health in Congo Town, Monrovia.

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