Text of the communiqué from the 2012 Great Ife Alumni International Reunion hosted by the Atlanta, Georgia Branch of the Great Ife Alumni Association during the US Labor Day weekend, Friday, August 31 through Sunday, September 2, 2012.
At the end of a weekend of constructive committee meetings and general deliberations, the following resolutions were adopted regarding the FUTURE, ENDOWMENT, SCIENCE/KNOWLEDGE PARK and INVESTMENTS:
Strategies for advancement of OAU for the next 50 years – Academic programs, Infrastructure, Linkages, and, Image of the University:
· OAU to be responsive to the global society, i.e. work on being a regional university, not just a Nigerian university. In this regard, the university must regain its earlier status as destination of choice for knowledge seekers all over Africa.
· OAU to make the faculty international so as to attract international students and funding.
· OAU to make Wi-Fi available throughout the campus to enhance student learning and easy access to international materials.
· OAU to package itself as a research center so as to invite international funding.
The Vice-Chancellor is expected to work on these recommendations and harmonize them with his vision for the university; he is also expected to furnish the worldwide alumni with an update on efforts being made in this direction within the next six months.
Strategies for repackaging the existing alumni template for university endowment and deliver on its goals:
· OAU to maintain standard/better web presence and produce online newsletter that goes out periodically to all alumni that contains updates on alma mater issues.
· OAU to develop as a matter of urgency an online Endowment Fundraising portal that could accept regular electronic donations as well as provide detailed information on other methods of payments.
· OAU to consider employing independent fundraising company with a neutral board to manage alumni endowment package.
· OAU to ensure all current students have e-mail accounts with the OAU email domain.
· OAU to as a matter of urgency develop a comprehensive database of alumni.
· OAU to hire consultants to work on backlog of transcripts and ensure transcripts requests are responded to with utmost sense of urgency. Since this is a very sensitive area for alumni all over the world, OAU to target completion within next 6 months.
· OAU to encourage “Adopt-a-student” program that enables willing alumni and alumni bodies across the globe to participate.
· OAU to institute scholarship programs where possible, and/or interest-free loans to students.
Strategies for actualizing the dream of the OAU Science/Knowledge Park and make OAU a national/regional technological hub:
· OAU to create a research and development foundation separate from Obafemi Awolowo Technology Fund (OTF) to attract funds, and in addition, provide incentives for innovations and put in place a mechanism to determine their commercial viability.
· OAU to strive for transparency and accountability on all projects undertaken.
· OAU to guide jealously its intellectual properties by putting in place a well-structured Intellectual Property (IP) board and invite top alumni lawyers to serve. All inventions/innovations must be immediately patented to provide cover for the products and protect the inventors from poachers.
· OAU to focus on areas of comparative advantage and develop capability to: electronically archive innovations, institute easy data retrieval mechanism, and, provide regular web updates on projects.
· OAU to recognize the infrastructural shortcomings that exist and develop a plan to address them as a matter of urgency.
The Vice-Chancellor is expected to share with the worldwide alumni, efforts in this area in the next one year, i.e. by September 2013.
Strategies to optimize the use of OAU estate and to ensure success of investment opportunities for OAU and its graduates; recruitments, placements, etc.
· OAU to invite investors to build state-of-the art commercial entities such as hostels, shopping malls, cinemas, cafeterias, etc., and ensure Alumni members have adequate information on such opportunities as they could be helpful in identifying potential investors.
· OAU to redouble its efforts in research and development in the area of training candidates on short-term vocational skills such as - brick-laying, tiling, carpentry, welding, metal fabrication, etc., as these skills are most lacking in the society today.
· OAU to develop the Center for Distance Learning to world standard for income generation purposes.
· OAU to invest in infrastructure and security on campus to attract external investors.
· OAU to conduct Agricultural Estate soil tests to determine what crops could be supported and then use the information to source external investors in plantations.
· OAU to actively support the Aviation Park and make it a center of excellence for training of pilots.
· OAU to double current efforts at preparing OAU graduates for life after university via: pre-alumni workshops, job interview/exam training, job placement assistance, entrepreneurial training, and, access to Small/Medium Enterprise (SME) funds for entrepreneurial purposes. The university Administration is expected to liaise closely with the National Alumni to drive the process.
· OAU to encourage students to consider internship and volunteering opportunities while in school and after graduation. Great Ife alumni body to help develop a procedure for this so that students can acquire skills that will distinguish them in the employment process and subsequently in the workforce.
· OAU to tap the global alumni reach in sourcing grants and research funds, helping with partnerships with corporations, guiding/helping students who have viable projects and need to be connected to resources, and, in packaging and marketing business initiatives that are on the ground.
The university administration should maintain a regular flow of communication with the worldwide alumni with regard to grant sourcing where adjudged necessary.
The Body of Presidents worldwide is expected to confer between October and December 2013 to review the extent of achievements made by all concerned in fulfilling the well considered vision of this communiqué.
At the end of the three-day event, the Dallas Branch of Great Ife Alumni Association was tapped to host the 8th International Reunion during the US Labor Day weekend in 2014 (Friday August 29 through Sunday August 31).
Great Ife Forever!!!
Adeolu Esho Lawale Adewoyin
President, Dallas Branch President, Atlanta Branch
On behalf of Global Organizing Committee On behalf of Local Organizing Committee