University welcomes award and visit from African Forum Scotland

University welcomes award and visit from African Forum Scotland

The Chief Executive of the African Forum Scotland and colleagues visited the University on Friday 31 January to hear about projects and partnerships in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The African Forum Scotland named the University of Aberdeen as Education Provider of the Year in this year's Annual African Achievement Awards Scotland.

Beltus Etchu Ojong, Chief Executive of the African Forum Scotland, was accompanied to Aberdeen by Pastor Festus Olatunde, Executive Director of Finance and Operations, and Mrs Tecla Wight, Director of Communication and Tourism at the Forum.

During the visit Mr Ojong presented the award to University Principal Professor Sir Ian Diamond.

The visitors heard brief presentations from Dr Julia Hussein on the work of the University’s Immpact programme in improving maternal health in African countries. Professor Jo Smith discussed the potential and challenges in Africa of using organic resources as a source of energy, soil enrichment and building materials. Professor Marcel Jaspars on work in Ghana to source new therapeutic agents from the natural environment and Professor John Paterson spoke about the work of the Centre for Energy Law and the need to ensure that appropriate legislation was in place in energy-rish countries. The final speaker was Professor Adam Price who presented some innovative ideas about the need for rice production in Africa to address concerns about food security. Discussion also included the University’s growing links and activity in teaching and research in public health, energy law, in energy economics and sustainable development, with special focus on increasing access to education through innovative on-line open access courses.

The guests also met students on the Oil and Gas Enterprise Management Course, and heard about the new Aberdeen Institute of Energy from director John Scrimgeour.

The awards organised by the African Forum Scotland pay tribute to African success across all walks of life, recognising and promoting excellence, best practice, and innovation in the worldwide African Community with emphasis on inspirational achievements and role models in the areas of business, sport, entertainment and music, community work, philanthropy, education, leadership, arts and culture. 

Dr Hilary Homans, who hosted the visit as director of the University’s Centre for Sustainable International Development said: “We are extremely interested to further this collaboration with the African Forum Scotland.  This would provide opportunities to increase networks and forge sustainable partnerships with academic institutions in Africa through the regional hubs already established by African Forum Scotland.  We will be taking these discussions forward over the coming months.”

Each year the University welcomes about 500 African students, many of whom are looking to develop careers in the global energy, information technology and business sectors. Subjects which are particularly popular with African students at the University include Petroleum Geology, Oil and Gas Enterprise Management, Petroleum Engineering, Oil and Gas Law, Hydrocarbon Exploration, Oil and Gas Engineering, Safety and Reliability Engineering for Oil and Gas, Computing, Business Studies, Energy Economics and Finance, Global Health and Management and Social Sciences.