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MUBAS aims to put stamp mark on international stage

News   Peter Bwanali   December 14, 2023
PIC: (L-R) Namaona, Prof. Stanton, Chilinde and Mirrium Dunn pose for a photo at Limerick University.
The Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS) has entered into an Inter-institutional agreement for Higher Education Student and Staff Mobility with the University of Limerick in Ireland and the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Austria under the European Community Action Scheme for Mobility of University Students (ERASMUS+) Capacity Building in Higher Education which aims at enhancing knowledge exchange among the three institutions.

To cement the partnership, two academic staff members from the School of Built of Environment at MUBAS; Dean Emeritus, Gilbert Chilinde; and Head of Architecture Department, Architect Terence Namaona, visited University of Limerick in Ireland from 15th to 24th November, 2023, where, among other things, they made presentations and took part in project supervision for final year students at the School of Architecture of the University of Limerick (SAUL).  

Speaking in an interview on arrival from the tour, Chilinde said the partnership will help MUBAS to put its stamp on the international scene which is one of the pillars of the MUBAS Strategic Plan.

“Internationalisation is one of the pillars of the MUBAS strategic plan and the partnership with the two European Universities augurs well with MUBAS strategic direction as this will help us to put a foothold on the international map as a new university. MUBAS cannot be acting alone without partnerships in a world of borderless knowledge,’’ said Chilinde.

Chilinde further said that international inter-institutional staff and students’ mobility plays a crucial role through knowledge sharing and cultural exchange and integration as education cannot be restricted to the classroom only.

“Through these visits, you begin to appreciate cultural values of other societies across the globe. We noted that our friends in Ireland place significant attachment to their historical architecture of Georgian Medieval Cathedrals, Castles, apartments, and tombs,’’ Chilinde added. 

In his remarks, Namaona said the visit was an eye opener as it provided them an opportunity to interact with some top academics in the field of Architecture. He continued to say that the Erasmus+ Projects Manager, of the Global Office of the University of Limerick, Ivanna Darcy, shared valuable insights on resource mobilization which, according to Namaona, has the potential to propel MUBAS to new heights on the international scene if embraced.  

“Through a hybrid meeting, we had an opportunity to interact with Limerick University’s Vice President Global and Community Engagement, Prof. Nigel Healey and our host Prof. Miriam Dunn and we were joined virtually by the Partnership Leader, Prof. Michelle Howard from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria and Prof. Peter Carrol of SAUL.  We discussed a new joint application for ERASMUS funding in Sustainable Architecture from the EU and we believe that MUBAS staff and students from the Architecture Department will benefit from this partnership and that MUBAS will record a milestone in its internalization effort,’’ explained Namaona.

 Namaona made a presentation on vernacular architecture which focused on the migration journey of the Maseko Ngonis from ESwatini to Malawi with emphasis on Architecture and culture of the Maseko Ngonis while Professor Merritt Bucholz, Head of School of Architecture at SAUL, shared a presentation on the architecture of Limerick City and County.

 Chilinde and Namaona were also involved in thesis writing and presentation workshops to appreciate the academic processes that University of Limerick undertakes in its academic programmes. They also held high level discussions on the future of Architecture and management of their respective schools.

It is expected that under the ERASMUS+ project, three members of staff, one from University of Limerick and two from the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria will visit MUBAS from 24th January, 2024 and they will also tour the Department of Fine Arts at University of Malawi and the Department of Horticulture and Landscape at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) which form part and parcel of Architecture. Later in 2024, seven students and two academic members of staff from MUBAS will travel to Austria for another exchange visit. The seven MUBAS students will spend an entire semester at Academy of Fine Arts to study Architecture as part of a programme called credit mobility.  Credit mobility allows students to study some modules within their programme at another university but still accumulate adequate credits for graduation at their parent university. 

ERASMUS+ is a European Commission initiative that promotes higher education networking globally for both academic members of staff and students as one way of promoting academic and cultural exchanges. 

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