ACES and Malawi’s premier agricultural university have much in common
By Leslie Sweet Myrick
November 8, 2018

Reciprocating the hospitality shown to Illinois Chancellor Robert Jones earlier this year as he and an Illinois delegation visited Africa, the ACES Office of International Programs was honored to host two distinguished administrators from Malawi’s Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources (LUANAR) this week: Vice Chancellor George Yobe Kanyama-Phiri and Registrar Phillip Dalitso Frank Kaonda.

As part of the delegation’s program – highlights of which included signing a memorandum of understanding with the university and meeting with several administrators and faculty – LUANAR’s Vice Chancellor and Registrar provided an overview of LUANAR to an audience of ACES department heads and others to identify potential areas of partnership.

We learned that LUANAR opened in 2012 and since them, enrollment has increased rapidly: in four years it has increased around 400% and currently sits at 10,000 students.

But the presentation slide on LUANAR’s mission was particularly striking, as it confirmed why we were all sitting in this room together. Here is LUANAR’s mission:

To advance knowledge and produce relevant graduates with entrepreneurship skills for:

  • Agricultural growth
  • Food security
  • Wealth creation and
  • Sustainable natural resources management, through teaching, training, research, outreach, consultancy, and sound management.

Does this all look familiar?

As Dr. Jeff Brawn, head of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, said to the presenters, “Your programmatic lists could have been our own webpage.”

The challenges noted in the presentation were also familiar, particularly in terms of budget shortcomings, but LUANAR is set to receive funding from the World Bank to help take its mission “to the people.”

ACES International looks forward to seeing where this partnership could lead and helping to facilitate faculty, staff, and student engagements towards common goals. You can learn more about LUANAR here. Please contact the ACES Office of International Programs if you have ideas and/or interest in specific ways to engage.