Arizona State University President Michael Crow has penned a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ASU and the Liberian government, led by Vice President Joseph Boakai during a visit from the Liberian delegation in Tempe this October.
The MOU aims to strengthen educational and political ties between ASU and the African nation, which has dealt with major blows to its infrastructure and educational systems due to a 14-year civil war and the Ebola outbreak of 2014.
“Liberia is reaching to partner with countries to draw resources and industries together,” Boakai said.
MOUs were also signed between the University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, the Maricopa and Pima Community College Systems, the Tempe Union School District and several other Arizona school districts.
Liberian native and ASU alumnus Robert Sherman helped organize the historic trip. Sherman earned three degrees from ASU’s Thunderbird School and W. P. Carey School of Business and has served as Liberia’s assistant minister of financial banking.
“What this MOU will do for us is assess our education system, some of the structural deficits,” said Sherman, who also taught at the Thunderbird School for 10 years and currently heads the Liberian Association of Arizona. “It will allow us to find solutions at ASU.”
The MOU will also allow Liberian and ASU students to attend college in both countries, as well as enable the exchange of faculty members who have an interest in global development.
Sherman said it’s possible for other African nations to follow ASU and Liberia’s lead.
“There are things to come that we can’t even think of now,” Sherman said. “But once this relationship is formed, people begin to work together, then we can begin to say ‘What can we do now, 10 years from now?’ It really lays the foundation for a tremendous amount of cooperation.”
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