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Charly Haley, Published January 11 2013

NDSU, Liberian college agree to cooperation deal

FARGO – North Dakota State University recognized its new relationship with an African college Friday.

Representatives from Nimba County Community College in Liberia visited NDSU to ceremonially confirm the schools’ partnership and discuss collaborations.

NCCC President Yar Donlah Gonway-Gono and NDSU President Dean Bresciani signed a “memorandum of understanding” between the two schools Friday morning.

Diversity officials from NDSU and Provost Bruce Rafert were at the ceremony along with leaders from the United Nimba Citizens Council (UNICCO), a U.S. nonprofit that advocates for the Liberian county of Nimba.

Before signing the memorandum, university officials discussed the benefits of the partnership, such as the importance of the agriculture programs at both schools.

Bresciani described the partnership with the NCCC as a “perfect alignment.”

After signing the memorandum, Bresciani presented Gonway-Gono with a “challenge coin” from NDSU as a token of good luck and remembering a shared experience.

Gonway-Gono said there is a greater need for opportunities like this partnership in developing countries like Liberia.

Rafert said NDSU will also benefit. “It’s of incredible value,” he said.

Rafert also credited the local chapter of UNICCO in establishing the relationship. The organization has an office in Fargo.

“It’s not just us and an institution abroad,” he said. “It’s grounded with some of their own citizens that call North Dakota home.”

The partnership between the two schools opens the door for the development of programs such as collaborative research and student and faculty exchanges. One cooperative program that was discussed Friday was the possibility of creating a women’s center at NCCC.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Charly Haley at (701) 235-7311