Botho University, Botswana has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Yaşar University, based in Izmir, Turkey. The partnership was facilitated by the Turkish Embassy in Gaborone, Botswana. Botho University’s mission is to produce globally employable graduates and by constantly expanding its partnerships with institutions of repute across the globe. The institution seeks to provide much needed and relevant international exposure to its students and in this regard the University had reached out to the Turkish embassy to seek opportunities for its students and graduates. The Honourable Turkish Ambassador Meltem Büyükkarakaş then kindly accepted an invitation to visit Botho University in March 2021 to meet with members of the Offi ce of the Vice Chancellor where she was given a campus tour and a presentation on the potential areas of partnerships with Turkish Universities. From there the Turkish Embassy assisted Botho University to get in touch with a few Turkish Universities which resulted in the MoU with Yaşar University being signed, post a series of consultative meetings. Yaşar University is a non profi t private higher education University located in Izmir, Turkey which is the third largest city and sits along the Aegean coast. Yaşar University has about 8,000 students. It offers both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. There are nine faculties: Science and Arts; Economics and Administrative Sciences; Communication; Human and Social Sciences; Business; Law; Art and Design; Engineering, and Architecture. There is also the School of Applied Sciences, Vocational School, Vocational School of Justice, School of Foreign Languages and the Graduate School.Yaşar University provides international students with the opportunity to experience an authentic Turkish-Aegean lifestyle in a diverse academic environment. The MOU signed between Botho University and Yaşar University will cover the following aspects: Development of joint academic programmes in full compliance to the accreditation and professional requirements of both institutions Transfer of academic credit bearing courses based on mutual transparency of course content and faculty qualifi cations. Exchange of Faculty for instruction, research and lectures Exchange of educational material, research projects, publications and library materials Exchange of graduate and undergraduate students for study and research Joint conferences, seminars and workshops The Vice-Chancellor of Botho University, Dr. Sheela Raja Ram stated that, “this partnership with Yaşar University from Turkey is indeed very valuable to us at Botho, as we continue to push ahead with our graduate employability agenda to produce globally employable graduates. Turkey occupies a unique geographical position at the cusp of Asian and European cultures and hence Botho University students from Southern Africa can leverage on this relationship between the two universities to develop their intercultural competence. Increasingly employers are demanding intercultural competence and global awareness as key employability skills. I strongly believe that Botho and Yaşar will mutually benefi t from our collaboration not only for developing graduates who have a wider understanding of global issues but also other critical areas such as curriculum development and higher education quality. This pandemic has made us all recognise that there is a need for us to fi nd common solutions to the challenges our communities face and that this can be done by bringing together people and cultures that are geographical apart. ” On their behalf, the Rector Prof. Dr. Mehmet Cemali Dinçer of Yaşar University was pleased to sign the MOU with Botho University, Botswana as one of their fi rst forays into the African subcontinent. Yasar is very excited about this new partnership and welcomes all staff and students from all over the world. Our professors are more than teachers. They are also mentors, innovators, and inventors. Yasar has very strong links to the business sector and is thus able to offer its students the benefi ts of university-industry collaboration through its support of entrepreneurship and startup business. Botho University’s mission is to produce graduates that embody traits as part of the Botho Graduate Profile as given below.
By providing staff and students opportunities to travel and experience other cultures, communities and teaching and learning environments, Botho University aims to achieve this mission. The university is also cognisant of the fact that any MOU is only as effective as its implementation. The biggest challenge for private higher education institutions is fi nding funding for its staff and students to take advantage of the opportunities that such MOU’s offer. The institution is actively seeking partnerships with any interested organisations in this regard who may be interested to work with Botho University in realising the dreams of young Batswana to be internationally competitive and have a global outlook.