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University presidents from Ethiopia are impressed by TH OWL

20 Ethiopian university presidents have now returned to their homeland with numerous ideas for setting up University of Applied Sciences (UASs). Over several days, they visited various universities, including the OWL University of Applied Sciences and Arts (TH OWL), to get an idea of practical implementations.

The purpose of the visit was that the Ethiopian government has recently founded 15 state Universities for Applied Sciences to foster the employability of their students. The tour was organized by the non-profit Center for Higher Education Development (CHE). "This is exactly the right way, since the country needs application-oriented profiles for its development," says Professor Dr. Frank Ziegele, Managing Director of the CHE based in Gütersloh. Since the CHE is part of the project with which the knowledge of German UASs is to be transfered to Ethiopia and adapted to the conditions there, CHE also organized this information tour for the Ethiopian university presidents.

The Ethiopian delegation was welcomed at the Innovation Campus Lemgo by Professor Dr. Uta Pottgiesser, Vice President of the TH OWL for Culture, Communication and International Relations, and the Director of the International Office, James O’Reilly . Both guided the guests around the campus. In the InnovationSPIN, architect Martin Schwörer explained the philosophy of the building that is about to open. The visit within the InnovationSPIN also included learning about the OWL-Racing Team. Professor Dr. Andreas Paa explained how students benefit from practical projects such as building a racing car: "Here it's not primarily about placing in races, but about the practice-oriented transfer of knowledge and the close connection to the economy," Paa told the highly interested Ethiopians.

In the Future Food Factory OWL, Dr. Manuel Zimmer welcomed the guests. For the Ethiopian guests, the subject of "food" is just as important as agriculture. In the Future Food Factory OWL, which will open at the beginning of May, It is not just a smart factory that can be used in study programs, but also a meeting place for science and business.

A similar picture was drawn by Pedro Rodrigues, industrial engineer from the Institute for Scientific Dialogue (IWD) in the Smart Factory OWL, who shared “we work closely with companies, and our collaboration is increasingly about data collection. Data is the key currency in the digital world.”

Afterwards, vice president Professor Dr. Uta Pottgiesser presented the structure of the TH OWL with its three locations and two other study locations to the Ethiopian university presidents. She repeatedly emphasized the effect of the university in the region through the good cooperation with business and administration.

In the subsequent discussion, the Ethiopian university presidents were impressed by the combination of teaching, research and transfer at the TH OWL and expressed the wish to keep in touch in the future and to explore possible cooperation. „Our guests were very interested in the topics of food technology, agriculture, health and water, but there are also many common interests in the area of architecture and construction. The sustainable development and improvement of societal challenges was one of their main interests.”, summarized vice president Professor Dr. Uta Pottgiesser.

There will be another opportunity to do so in May, when vice presidents and deans of Ethiopia will visit the creative campus in Detmold in a second study tour in addition to the innovation campus in Lemgo.