ELTE-Africa Partnership Forum at ELTE
Although the focus of the international activity of ELTE is cooperation with European partners, the university also keeps expanding its relations in Central Asia, the Far East, Africa, North America, and Latin America. ELTE’s Africa Strategy was launched with the aim of establishing a well-functioning, active relationship with ten higher education institutions in ten African countries by the end of 2022. However, the university has so far concluded agreements with seventeen African universities, nine of which operate in Sub-Saharan countries.
ELTE has recently participated in several events connected to the strategy. The latest major event of the programme series was the ELTE-Africa Partnership Forum held on 23 May 2023. The meeting made it possible to discuss potential inter-institutional and inter-regional cooperation, to share good practices and experiences of third mission activities, as well as to plan and establish further collaboration.
The forum held in the Aula Magna had over one and a half hundred participants. In addition to the leaders of ELTE and twenty African universities, the representatives of ten African embassies and domestic companies were present. The event was also attended by the staff members of non-governmental organisations and international students studying at ELTE. African higher education was represented by institutions from Burkina Faso, the Republic of South Africa, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and Tanzania.
The event began with a special performance given by a dance troupe from Senegal called Ballet Camara. The guests were welcomed by Imre Hamar, Vice-Rector for International Affairs, who is in charge of the university’s Africa Strategy. Afterwards, Rector László Borhy expressed his pleasure at the organisation of the forum, which was meant to strengthen and expand ELTE’s relations in Africa. Balázs Hankó, State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture and Innovation, and Miklós Lengyel, Deputy State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, referred to the event as a possibility to revive the partnership between Hungary and Africa, and as an opportunity for closer cooperation in the field of education, research, and innovation.
In the morning session of the forum, Tamás Fehér, the Hungarian Ambassador to Ghana, summarised Hungary’s diplomatic efforts in West Africa. His speech was followed by those of Miklós Tromler, the Hungarian Ambassador to Morocco, and Abdelkarim Hermi, the Tunisian Ambassador to Hungary.
Several professors from ELTE took part in the programme with their lectures. László Pálfi, a staff member of the Doctoral School, spoke about African Studies in Hungary, including traditions, results, and possibilities. Orsolya Réthelyi, habilitated associate professor and Vice-Dean for International Affairs at the Faculty of Humanities, captured the attention of the audience with her lecture entitled “The Connection of Research and Education in Today's Languages: Dutch, Afrikaans, English, and Beyond.”
András Málnási-Csizmadia, professor at the ELTE Department of Biochemistry, talked about the personal experiences he had during his trip to Kenya, raising the questions of aid and investment. Eszter Márkus, Vice-Dean for Educational Affairs at the Bárczi Gusztáv Faculty of Special Needs Education, presented the school development project in Kenya launched together with the ADRA Foundation. Viktor Mihucz, habilitated associate professor at the ELTE Institute of Chemistry, told the audience about his intercultural experiences and the results of transdisciplinary education in the framework of the CHARM-EU Master’s Programme.
Nóra Végh, the project coordinator of the Africa Foundation, also spoke in the morning. She reported on the teaching activities of the foundation’s talented African students. István Taróssy, a teacher at the University of Pécs and head of the Africa Research Centre, presented the collaboration projects of the University of Pécs and the experiences of cooperation with African partners over the last decade and a half.
The lunch break provided an opportunity for making acquaintances and building personal relationships, while the afternoon programme focused on potential ways of cooperation.
Sándor Bereczki, from the Embassy of Hungary in Ghana and the Abidjan Trade Centre, outlined the options for cooperation with educational institutions in Ivory Coast. Subsequently, Miklós Lehmann, associate professor, presented the Faculty of Primary and Pre-School Education. Katalin Németh, Head of Department, Institutional Erasmus+ Coordinator, gave a presentation entitled “Erasmus+ 20% and ICM Mobility.” Luca Lafferton, Deputy Head of Department, Institutional Stipendium Hungaricum Coordinator, shared information about the Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship Programme with the African guests.
At the end of the event, personal accounts were given by ELTE students from Africa, as well as by the representatives of the University of Tunis el Manar (Tunisia) and the University of Mohamed Khider Biskra (Algeria).
The ELTE-Africa Partnership Forum met the expectations, and the participants considered the event highly useful. According to the plans, the current symposium will be followed by several further events, activating and expanding the relations of ELTE with Africa.
ELTE-Africa Partnership Forum
ELTE-Africa Partnership Forum