Memorandum of understanding signed on Crookston campus.

    The University of Minnesota Crookston welcomed visitors this week from Université de Ségou (University of Segou), Mali. Hosted by Professor Harouna Maiga, head of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department, Souleymane Kouyaté, president of the University of Segou, Ousmane Konipo, director of research and Konimba Bengaly, professor of animal science, were on campus from Sunday, October 21 until Monday, October 29.

    Over the course of the week, Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause and President Kouyaté signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to encourage further exploration of ways the two universities can work together.

    “The opportunities to learn from one another and explore possible partnerships are a natural extension of our land grant mission,” Holz-Clause says. “Visits like these help us look at ways we can help, and in turn, we benefit from the opportunity to learn from our partners.”

    An earlier MOU signed in 2015 began the academic collaboration and the potential for a faculty/student exchange and this visit will continue the work and help create other avenues for collaboration.

    Bengaly and Maiga, in conjunction with Associate Professor Marc Bauer from North Dakota State University have been engaged in an ongoing research project studying the digestion and nutrient absorption of cattle feed using the cassava plant and other protein feeds involved in animal nutrition in Mali. Maiga says the research data will help tell scientists about the role cassava might play as a potential food supplement. However, this visit is focused on the investigation of future projects and learning more about one another.

    “It has been a week of introducing my colleagues from Mali to our facilities, including tours of the laboratories, on campus,” said Maiga. “We have had meetings with our chancellor, vice chancellor, department heads, the Agriculture and Natural Resources faculty, the director of the International Programs, and other unit leaders to discuss specific topics related to academic programs.”

    President Kouyaté is pleased with the way the week has gone thus far. “Visiting the labs, learning about the infrastructure, and building relationships bring a greater, more dynamic interaction between our institutions,” he says. “We look forward to further exploration as the week goes on.”

    Maiga echoes those feelings, “We have come together in a spirit of collaboration to work together and strengthen what we do together and ultimately how we each can benefit,” he says.