Since we are faced with the South’s huge needs in health, energy, environmental management, logistics, infrastructure, can academic cooperation be a factor in development?
Academic cooperation not only helps to develop teaching and research, but it can also contribute to training other people through the universities and higher education institutions that we help to function better. Our help comes from training teachers and researchers, and improving the running of these institutions (student cards, computer networks, libraries, governance, communication, etc.). Those that have been trained then, undeniably, become powerful actors in development. It is on them that the other “big” cooperation projects can be based. Investment in human resources is indeed one of the most enduring factors of the undertaken initiatives.
Academic cooperation is, therefore, a means of development in itself, and our long-term vision can be simply explained in five words: “be better in the South”. For a promising young scientist, opportunities should be equal in both the North and the South, in order to prevent brain drain and facilitate the integration of these scientists’ into the international scientific community.
UMONS’ Development Cooperation Unit has two objectives:
- to get to know those involved in cooperation better. This applies to both official cooperation, through projects such as those funded by the ARES-CCD, and informal cooperation. Many colleagues welcome placement researchers, PhD students, post-docs, and administrative staff in their departments. The goal is to meet others, share experiences, and give ideas for future actions, collaborations, etc.
- to provide legitimacy and visibility to these development cooperation activities, including informal actions, such as officially recognising and promoting them.
Academic cooperation is not about making up for the colonial past, but it is rather :
- a scientific project that requires strict management.
- a way to work together on original study material in diverse areas: biodiversity, sociology, economics, history, archaeology, architecture, linguistics, medicine, pharmacy, mineral resources, energy, etc.
- a means of going beyond local challenges by better understanding the realities of the world.
Advisor to the Rector on Development Cooperation
Tel : +32 65 37 34 31