1. The United Nations has chosen Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, as the regional center for all its programmes on environment and education for sustainable development. By this, the university has recorded another feat as being universally adjudged to have a conducive environment for programs sponsored by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The programs have been planned for 2008 within the Mainstreaming Environment for Sustainable Development into African Universities (MESA) programs. A statement by OAU's Public Relations Officer, Abiodun Olarewaju, said the MESA program is borne out of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) initiative on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and environmental conservation in all tertiary institutions worldwide. It was pioneered in Nigeria through the efforts of Professor Margaret Okorodudu-Fubara of OAU. According to the statement, the Director of OAU's Institute of Ecology and Environmental Studies, Professor Ayobami Salami who signed the contract on behalf of the school management is the coordinator of the program for West and Central Africa. It said the program is planned to train 25 personnel from African universities in Sweden in May this year and would be followed by a regional training at OAU in July also this year.
2. UNESCO is funding a Chair in Science and Technology Planning at OAU. Adverts will soon be out to recruit a suitable international candidate for the position.
3. The Southern Nigerian Regional Centre for the British Council funded African Knowledge Transfer Project (AKTP) is to sited at OAU. AKTP seeks to facilitate/support university-industry partnership in technology innovation endeavors. The OAU-CHAMS partnership in software development and OAU-SMEDAN mediated partnership with SMEs on cassava products (ethanol, starch, foods etc) development will soon take off under the scheme.
4. There is every assurance that OAU will host the South-West Technology Park to be established the FG. This will complement our efforts at developing an S&T Park in partnership with some private sector organizations.
5. The Leventis Foundation, London HQ has just approved support for the development of the OAU Natural History Museum to the tune of 115,00 pounds sterling annually for 4 yrs (approx N115 million over the 4 yrs). This will enable us complete the Museum Building abandoned since 1982! and get the facility equipped to world standard. We hope to raise additional resources to complete the building project within 2008 and gradually stock it with artifacts over the remaining years of assistance. Ours is still the only such museum of natural history in West Africa, not only institutional but even nationally.
6. Just yesterday (20 Feb 2008) the Fajemirokun family commissioned a computer/internet facility for the Department of Economics and promised a research building for the Faculty of Social Sciences.
7. Work is about to commence on the 1000-seater First Bank Lecture theatre, while the contractors for the PTDF supported N450 million expansion of the building and facilities for Geosciences are already on site.
So gradually we are getting Great Ife back to global reckoning. Will keep in touch.
Mike Faborode – Vice Chancellor