Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) supported by the MUST-IUC UCoBS project organized a workshop on Internationalization Policy and Strategies on 23rd January 2023 at the UCoBS Board Room. The workshop is part of the implementation programme of the project “University As a Facilitator For Community-Based Sustainable Solutions to Demographic Challenges in South Western Uganda (UCoBS)” funded by VLIR-UOS, Belgium.  The main highlights of the workshop included presentations from partner institutions Vrije Universiteit Brussels and Ghent University, remarks from the Deputy Local Coordinator, presentations from Sub-Project 6 and the International Relations Officer, followed by a round table discussion with workshop participants.

The opening remarks were given by Dr Medard Twinamatsiko, Deputy Local Coordinator of UCoBS. In his address, he emphasised the need for the workshop, not only for internationalisation, but also to think together as a university about the overall positioning of MUST at the international level and strengthening the community engagement as MUST flagship. He asserted that project Phase-In stage has already put in place infrastructure, systems and structures to facilitate the successful implementation of the UCoBS programme with verifiable milestones to address each of the demographic challenges in South West Uganda. In addition, the speaker highlighted the main outputs of the project which include capacity building (human resources including training of PhD and MA/MSc students), infrastructure development (including strong ICT lab, GIS, laboratory of science), knowledge generation (new methodologies and innovations) and community impact. He finally noted that there is a strong team of six sub-projects led by Assoc. Prof. Charles Tushabomwe-Kazooba to handle the project and asked the Deans and Deputy Deans to continue supporting the project.
The team leader of sub- project 6, Dr. Fred Kaggwa, explained the focus of this sub-project on ICT and internationalisation by giving the three main objectives.

Dr. Francoise De Cuper a senior staff member of the International Relations Office in Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB) emphasised the need of internationalisation in higher education institutions in the 21st century. She noted that MUST needs to train students to ably thrive as global citizens. Dr. Francoise highlighted the importance of marketing MUST to different universities and embassies to attract more students for full time, short courses and partners to undertake research. Emphasis on the different units working closely with the international office was highlighted. It is important that the university packages and presents itself as a whole to the world.

Presenting internationalisation tools, Dr. Thomas Beurman the project manager international recruitment and partnerships discussed different digital tools employed by Ghent University to manage international students and enhance the University’s internationalisation processes. Such tools are used in orientation, application and evaluation processes. He noted the importance of creating programmes to integrate international students into the university’s culture and availing enough human resource to implement the internationalisation of the university.

Ms. Sheila Niinye Twinamatsiko the International Relations Officer MUST presented the overview of internationalisation strategies and the first internationalisation policy draft. She highlighted the policy context and problem statement, justification, goal, objectives and strategies. The goal of the policy is to strengthen the internationalisation agenda at MUST through enhanced global partnerships and collaborations, and the international dimension in curricula and research. The workshop participants appreciated the work so far done, they deliberated and gave feedback on the policy development.

The workshop was a great success and participants showed renewed energy and commitments to take forward the University’s internationalisation agenda. The workshop was attended by Deans, Deputy Deans, some University Council members, Faculty Administrators and Faculty Coordinators for International Relations.

 Succeed we must