Historic Visit of the President of University of Rhode Island, USA to University of Cape Coast, Ghana

Right from the onset, it was obvious that the two academic institutions were poised for what could be referred to as the beginning of a great and lasting friendship, a diplomatic call on the heads of the two universities.
The University of Cape Coast (UCC) hosted Dr. Dooley, President of the University of Rhode Island (URI) in the United States of America last Friday, 15th April, 2016. He had a long day at UCC, one intended to strengthen ties and explore other areas of possible collaboration between the two universities, beyond the current friendship led by the School of Biological Sciences; Department of Fisheries and Aquatic to be precise.
The President and his team, including officials from USAID-GHANA and the CRC arrived earlier ahead of schedule, which provided an opportunity for a warm breakfast welcome session with heads and deans of some faculties and the administration unit. Business commenced immediately after with a brief meeting and exchange of pleasantries with the Prof. D. D. Kuupole (Vice-Chancellor, UCC) and other high profile delegates from UCC, followed by a tour around campus.

Dr. Denis Aheto explaining the features of the UCC crest to the URI delegation. (Photo credit: Ernest Chuku, DFAS-UCC)     

The tour ended at the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences where the Provost, Prof. S. Y. Mensah introduced Dr. Dooley to the various Schools in the College i.e. School of Biological Sciences, School of Physical Sciences, School of Agric. Sciences, and School of Nursing and talked about a few projects and successes chalked so far. The President showed particular interest in the Laser and Optics Centre at the School of Physical Sciences and had the opportunity to visit the centre at the end of the day to assess opportunities for collaboration, the very reason for his visit. A short seminar was thereafter held for departments to further elaborate on current research directions, strengths and weaknesses. Most departments expressed interest in collaborating with URI in diverse areas and vice-versa.

  

The highlight of the day, a public lecture on “Internationalization and Globalization: Education, Research, Diplomacy, and Intelligence”, delivered by Dr. Dooley and chaired by Prf. D.D Kuupole, had hundreds seated at the main auditorium of the University of Cape Coast, to pick his perspective on the topic. He delivered well on his chosen topic in about thirty minutes and the audience applauded him equally on his submission.

During his lecture, the President emphasised on the huge potential of universities to solving the world’s problems and talked about the need for partnerships between universities across continents because such relationships, he said according to his judgement, could promote cooperative advocacy to lobby governments, inter-governmental organisations, government agencies and world organisations to adopt the right policies and strategies to deal with the challenges to cease the opportunities of the day.
To end his lecture, Dr. Dooley said, “… it’s important that you have that vision, we look forward to working with you because I really know that there isn’t anything that we could do as educators more important than building these kinds of relationships and giving our students and faculties, those who work and live on our campuses, a chance to know one another very well”.

The lecture continued with a briefing by Mr. Robert Buzzard, about components of the memorandum of agreement to be signed between the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, UCC and the Coastal Resources Centre, URI and also touched on the on-going Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) assessing stocks of pelagic fisheries in Ghana, which he said, is a very critical trophic level in the marine ecosystem and an important food supply for the tuna fishery. This was followed by a question and answer session.

A memorandum of agreement for joint research, educational, and student exchanges was subsequently signed between the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Centre for Coastal Management, UCC and the Coastal Resources Centre, URI.

   

The VC closed the day with an advice to students to employers after school but neither seekers of employment nor members of the popular association of unemployed graduates. A short ceremony was performed to symbolise Ghana’s rich culture of beautiful and colourful traditional dressing “Kente” for the President and Mr. Buzzard, whilst presenting other members of the URI and USAID delegation UCC-branded scarfs each. Dr. Dooley finally inspected facilities of DFAS and the Laser and Optics Centre.

 

Some dignitaries present at the public lecture were Mr. Robert Basad (Senior Natural Resources Advisor, USAID), Mr. Justice Odoi (Environmental Specialist, USAID and Head of USAID/UCC Fisheries Project), Dr. Deborah Sheely, Dr. Brian Crawford (Chief of Party, USAID),  Rev. Dr. Joseph Quainoo, Prof. George K. T. Oduro (Pro-Vice Chancellor), Prof. S. Y. Mensah (Provost, CANS), Prof. Johnson Nyarko Boampong (Dean, School of Biological Sciences), Dr. Denis W. Aheto (Head, Dept. of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences and Project Manager, USAID/UCC Fisheries Project), Dr. Noble K. Asare (Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, USAID/UCC Fisheries Project), Prof. John Blay (Coordinator, Centre for Coastal Management, UCC), Dr. Joseph Aggrey-Fynn (Director, Oil and Gas Institute, UCC), Najir Lazar, Mr. J. K Nyan (Registrar, UCC), Osabarima Kwesi Atta II (Oguaamanhene; “Paramount Chief, Cape Coast”), Dr. Mrs. Mamaa Entsuah Mensah (Member of Council, UCC and Deputy Director General, CSIR), Prof. Emeritus K. N. Eyeson, Prof. David K. Essumang (Dean, School of Physical Sciences), Prof. E. A. Okorley (Dean, School of Graduate Studies), among others.
On Saturday, 16th April, 2016, Dr. Dooley had an interaction with PHD candidates and other scholarship holders who will be travelling to URI later this year.
In the end, one could say that the advert circulated prior to the President’s arrival, which read; “President Dooley and colleagues are in Ghana for the first time to further strengthen URI’s well-established ties with African universities — including the University of Cape Coast and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology — and to visit URI’s ongoing projects in Ghana. These include the USAID/Ghana Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP), the USAID/UCC Fisheries and Coastal Management Capacity Building Support Project and the USAID/West Africa Analytical Support Services and Evaluations for Sustainable Systems In Agriculture, Environment, and Trade (ASSESS)”, as far as UCC is concerned, was fully lived.
 
Source: Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, University of Cape Coast.
19th April, 2016.