As our world continues to become increasingly interconnected via technology, opportunities for universities to collaborate across the globe also are increasing. Two such examples from from Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia.
Sri Lankan ambassador visits UK
On Friday, July 12, the University of Kentucky hosted a visit by the Sri Lankan ambassador to the United States, Jaliya Wickramasuriya, and his wife, Mrs. Priyanga Wickramasuriya, for the purpose of exploring the development of academic affiliations between UK and one or more universities in Sri Lanka, an island country of just over 20 million people located in the northern Indian Ocean, near India.
Ambassador Wickramasuriya and UK officials discussed proposals for joint cancer research projects between UK and the University of Peradeniya and the National Cancer Institute of Sri Lanka and, potentially, opportunities for mutually beneficial education and training programs in the two countries. The partnership may later be extended to include infectious diseases and equine management, or other disciplines related to agriculture and equine science.
The proposed affiliation between institutions in the two countries was initiated at the request of Dr. Frederick de Beer, dean of the UK College of Medicine, with the goal of expanding UK’s international outreach program to developing countries in Asia. He requested that Dr. Marcus E. Randall, professor and Markey Foundation Endowed Chair in Radiation Medicine in the UK College of Medicine, and Udeni B.R. Balasuriya, professor of virology at the Gluck Equine Research Center in UK’s Department of Veterinary Science in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, establish a link with academic and research institutions in Sri Lanka. Both are scheduled to visit Sri Lanka in August, when they will meet with collaborators and discuss research projects involving UK.
One of the initial projects is a study of the incidence of oral and cervical cancers linked to human papilloma virus infection in Sri Lanka. The main goal of this project is to build the capacity to address the high cervical cancer burden in Sri Lanka through both research and education. Scientists from both countries will analyze clinical, epidemiological and virological data to establish correlations between HPV and oral/cervical cancers. Findings from this study will help to implement improved diagnostic, prophylactic (vaccination) and treatment plans to help patients in both countries. Furthermore, residents and medical students from both countries will participate in this research project through an exchange program.
“I commend the University of Kentucky for its thoughtful and timely efforts to initiate academic partnerships with universities in Sri Lanka,” Wickramasuriya said. “Joint cancer research and other collaborative opportunities will not only build educational and training capabilities, but these projects also have tremendous potential to benefit the lives of many people.”
Saudi Arabian students visit College of Pharmacy
Six students from Jazan University, in Saudi Arabia, spent four weeks studying clinical pharmacy at UK’s top-ranked College of Pharmacy.
Jazan University, a public research university based in the city of Jazan, which rests by the Red Sea on the southwest coast of Saudi Arabia, is the first clinical pharmacy college in Saudi Arabia to offer the doctor of pharmacy degree.
One of the goals of the visit was to prepare Saudi Arabian students to become faculty in their home universities where very few of the faculty are from Saudi Arabia.
UK’s cutting edge laboratories, faculty and curriculum will help the Saudi Arabian students become leaders in their country’s universities, while UK benefits from the transformative impact of international exchanges.
“At the UK College of Pharmacy we value both the knowledge and cultural exchange between the two colleges,” said Melody Ryan, the College of Pharmacy’s director of international professional student education. “We hope to help build the Saudi Arabian clinical pharmacy workforce by collaborating with our partners at Jazan University.”
During their stay the students shadowed professional pharmacists in UK Chandler Hospital and Kentucky Clinic pharmacies and attended several lectures and workshops about the College of Pharmacy’s curriculum, practice and research.
The students also experienced Lexington’s cultural highlights such as the horse park, museums, parks and restaurants.
“I had many opportunities to communicate with the students and faculty here without any tension, as if we were one of them,” said Ali Ahmed Ruwayni, a student from Jazan University. “I would love to have the opportunity to finish my studies here.”
This is the second year for this successful program. Three Saudi Arabian students from the 2012 program returned to work with pharmacists on the general surgery, transplant and cardiology teams. Both Jazan University and the University of Kentucky hope to develop and deepen this important partnership.
Students from more than 100 countries, including Sri Lanka, attend the University of Kentucky. And, the number of UK students participating in study abroad programs is growing at a steady pace.
This report is a combination of two stories that first appeared in UKNow.