Kenya Prime Minister Raila Odingasu signed a cooperation agreement with Florida A&M University Thursday to allow joint training and research projects, particularly in engineering and health sciences.
Kenya’s Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology is interested in implementing training systems in these areas based on university models. The agreement, called a memorandum of understanding, was signed at a ceremonial event at the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical sciences building on FAMU’s campus.
Provost Cynthia Hughes Harris opened the ceremony by extending a special welcome to the prime minister and a Kenyan delegation and to members of the FAMU community. Harris also introduced distinguish guests and gave a rundown on what would be happening at the event.
“This event will benefit me and the FAMU community by giving us, the students, a broader view of what is going on nationwide,” said
Jayne Thomas, 19, a sophomore and computer information systems students.
After introductions were made, signing the memorandum of understanding began between President James Ammons and the prime minister.
“Signing the memorandum of understanding will allow us to create a symbiotic relationship between institutions, which will facilitate exchange knowledge and personnel,” Odinga said.
Speakers at the event discussed their excitement and perspectives on the Green House Initiative; a program that strives to make a better, more “greener” environment.
“I am an environmental health scientist and I’m excited that the prime minister took an interest in the green house initiative. It is not possible to discuss a green initiative without talking about the impacts on public health,” said Tiffiani Onifade, director of environmental health sciences.
Another speaker, Michael Thomas, discussed his agri-business, which is a business and has research in environmental and natural resources. Thomas explained that being a part of or participating in the green initiative will benefit him.
“I am looking forward to collaborate and do research. I hope to make contact with Kenya’s government and develop association with them, while working with the green initiative,” said Thomas, a professor of agribusiness.
As the closing of the event was soon approaching, the prime minister had an opportunity to talk about Ramogi Institute of Advanced Technology.
Odinga also discussing one of the ways collaborating with FAMU will make his vision for Kenya a successful one.
“My vision for Kenya is to make it a better environment for future generations and in order to achieve this goal, we need to empower our people through political education partnerships between FAMU and RIAT to develop an intellectual compatibility,” Odinga said.
The prime minister mentioned some of the events in his life and how this collaboration will benefit Kenya’s community economically and politically.
In his closing remarks, Odinga expressed his gratitude for having the chance to make such collaboration.
Harris came back onto the podium to introduce the presenters for the closing remarks, including professor Crispus M. Kiamba who is also the permanent secretary in the Kenyan Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology; and Ammons.
“By collaborating we will extend the expertise of FAMU through academic programs, facility and students,” said Ammons.
Ammons added that the vision for this is to create a world-class model that will bring the facility and students from two institutions working on issues that are relevant for Kenya, America, and the world.
As a token of their appreciation for attending the event and signing the agreement, Ammons presented the prime minister and Kenya delegation with gifts. In turn, Ammons and Harris received beautifully crafted sculptures and Kenya tea from the prime minister and the Kenya delegation.