The University of California, Merced, entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Kathmandu University during a ceremony yesterday, laying the foundation for future collaborations between the two fast-growing institutions.
The two schools agreed to explore faculty, staff and student exchanges, joint research projects, the exchange of academic publications and information, and the promotion of other academic activities.
According to a press release issued by Public Affairs Section, Embassy of The United States,the relationship spawned from a research trip to Nepal by anthropological archaeologist Mark Aldenderfer — dean of the UC Merced School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts — and a subsequent visit by Aldenderfer and Dan Hirleman, then dean of the School of Engineering.
Aldenderfer, who has been featured in National Geographic for his research on the cave people of the high Himalayas, said he saw a solar panel in disrepair during a visit to Samdzong, Nepal, and wondered whether UC Merced’s prolific solar energy researchers could lend a hand. He began researching universities in Nepal and found Kathmandu University. Like UC Merced, Kathmandu University has strong programs in engineering, science, management, health sciences and arts.
Erik Rolland, interim dean of the School of Engineering and a professor of management at UC Merced said UC Merced and Kathmandu University can take advantage of each other’s strengths and opportunities. “Not only are our two universities similar in focus,” Rolland said, “but also we are located in regions that are fertile grounds for studying and addressing the world’s biggest socioeconomic, environmental and technological challenges.”
Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy, John Carwile, noted the tremendous potential in this KU-UC Merced agreement. “Both of your universities are dynamic institutions with strong faculties and good collaboration with local communities. I think this is going to be an ideal partnership.”