The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Liberia and the Alabama State University (ASU) in the United States of America have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enhance cooperation in several areas including the enhancement of scientific and technological research opportunities.
The MOU came into force on Friday, December 14, 2018, when EPA Executive Director, Nathaniel T. Blama, Sr. signed the document, at a brief ceremony held at the agency’s office on 4thstreet in Sinkor.
Alabama State University’s President, Dr. Quinton T. Ross Jr. previously signed the document.
The ceremony was witnessed by managers and heads of different units at the EPA and Dr. Boakai Keith Robertson, Executive Director of Graduate Programs in Biological Sciences at ASU.
Dr. Robertson, who represented the ASU atthe signing ceremony, said through the MOU, the EPA and ASU have expressed their intentions to build a cooperative working relationship in areas of mutual interest over the next two years.
He said ASU and the EPA have agreed to access intern opportunities for students through various EPA programs, as well as career opportunities after graduation.
Under the deal, access to scientific and technological research opportunities for faculty members will be made available.
Dr. Robertson also disclosed that under the agreement, faculty exchange opportunities within EPA offices will be provided as well as the provision, creation and implementation of a coalition of academic resources.
The deal also provides for the conduct of series of environmental career development workshops for students and the provision of mentoring relationships with EPA’s scientists and policy makers, Othreniel Angel Forte, a staff in the office of EPA Executive Director, NathanielT. Blama, Sr. said.
Reading the MOU at the ceremony, Miss. Forte said under the arrangement, a design research and programs to address the need of diverse populations as related to traditional and non-traditional areas of agriculture and green industries.
She explained that ASU will provide technical support and expertise specifically in the area of energy and climate change, protecting America’s waters, improving air quality and cleaning up under-served and minority communities.
Miss. Forte indicated that the MOU provides for the building of strong partnerships with communities, tribes and other states and federal agencies through public engagement, as well as conduct of joint research projects between EPA and ASU.
EPA Executive Director, Blama said benefit that would be accrued under the deal with ASU are enormous and note that the entire country stand to benefit from the agreement.
Blama disclosed that capacity would be built under the MOU and noted that the EPA would under the project EPA would sort faculty support for the University of Liberia and other institutions.
He disclosed that recently the EPA and the University of Liberia through the National Adaptation Program (NAP) project entered a MOU for the establishment of a graduate school in environmental science at the UL.
Blama further noted that under the deal EPA staff would be send to the ASU for internship, while the ASU would send staff to Liberia to build capacity at the EPA.
He spoke of the possibility of ASU tailoring specific programs including ‘Disaster Risk Management’, ‘Climate Change and Agriculture Adaptation’ in accordance to EPA’s needs for internship staff.
Blama disclosed that President George Weah has reiterated his dream to take people from poverty and noted that this is why he calls it ‘Poor Pro Agenda Poor’, which doesn’t mean people should remain poor. He said the deal would help fulfill President Weah’s dream, because according to him education will relief people from poverty.