South Sudanese VSU Visit "Promising"
Published date: May 7, 2013
Virginia State University’s College of Agriculture recently hosted a visit by a nine-member South Sudanese delegation from the University of Juba. On an information-gathering quest, the delegation was led by Dr.Pasquale Tiberio Droko Moilinga, dean of the College of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies at the University of Juba.
The two-day itinerary included academic briefings by administrators and faculty, tours of VSU’s 416-acre Randolph Farm and Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research Center in Blackstone, and site visits to observe operations of selected small farmers participating in VSU’s demonstration programs. Moilinga explained that the University of Juba, established in 1977, is in the process of rebuilding higher education in South Sudan, an African country that achieved its independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011.
“We are a new nation and a new people,“ exclaimed Moilinga. “We consider Virginia State and Virgina Tech to be premier universities with proven track records in agriculture and we’re excited about forming this partnership which is very important to us.” He explained further that through collaborations with Virginia’s two land-grant institutions, he anticipates positive impacts on socio-economic and technical development.
Dr. Wondi Mersie, VSU associate dean and research director, said as an immediate result of the visit, VSU and Juba University faculty have begun partnering to formulate plans for constructing a research farm, and establishing training and curriculum development guidelines. “VSU faculty will be actively engaged with Juba University on projects related to specialty crops, campus vegetable production, weed control, small ruminants and aquaculture,” Mersie said.
VSU President Dr. Keith T. Miller, in welcoming the delegation, expressed his desire that this meaningful dialogue be maintained continuously. This, Miller said, will assist Juba University in its rebuilding efforts while simultaneously affording VSU yet another advantageous opportunity to live up to its mantra of “building a better world.”
photo caption: (left to right) Dr. Wondi Mersie, Dr. Pasquale Moilinga, and Dr. Keith T. Miller. The educational triumvirate convened to explore international initiatives and potential collaborations that might effectively address restoration concerns and the socio-economic plight of Juba University’s educational system.
VSU Photo by William Gee