Liberia: United Methodist University to Launch School of Marine Sciences
Monrovia – The United Methodist University of Liberia (UMU), in partnership with the Blue Action Network (BAN), will launch a new college named Patrizia Ziveri School of Marine Sciences of the United Methodist University on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, at the Monrovia City Hall in Sinkor, Monrovia. The college will teach and train students with the basic skills of managing the marine environment in and out of Liberia. Dr. Yar Donlah Gonway-Gono, President of the UMU, said her leadership would engage the global academic community by bringing those fields of studies that seem far and remote to our people into Liberia. In addition, we will link up with all well-meaning educators worldwide to ensure that Liberia is not left behind in modern education,” she asserted. Dr. Gonway-Gono pointed out that under her leadership, the university will widen the education space in the country.
She said the UMU will not only teach the sciences, but they will also apply the sciences in the daily lives of the Liberian people, adding, “through professional actions, we will keep the ocean safe and make food available through what we will teach.” In addition, the UMU president indicated that through collaborative efforts with other educators at home and abroad, the university would educate Liberians of school-going age on how to create jobs after graduating. She further indicated that now, the United Methodist University of Liberia is rolling out courses that will empower people.
The School of Marine Sciences is the university’s way of tackling the threat that Liberia’s ecosystem is facing. “We want to make sure that before the oceans take over any of our coastal communities, we will have people in the fields to defend those communities,” Dr. Gonway-Gono said. The school will form part of several departments within the United Methodist University of Liberia.
The Executive Director of the Blue Action Network, Ms. Miatta Sonie Sherif, said, marine science is a rich discipline that combines studies from various subjects to understand the marine environment, marine life, and their interactions with the communities. “Marine science plays a pivotal role in the quest to understand our world and manage its resources, she asserted. Ms. Sherif noted that students going through the UMU School of Marine Sciences would be able to communicate effectively through their writing and oral presentations and demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the marine environment, including the relationship between biology, geology, chemistry, and physics.
“The Marine Science program will also provide solid preparation for immediate employment in marine-related industries, governmental agencies, education, and the non-profit sectors, Ms. Sherif concluded.
The School of Marine Sciences is named in honor of Professor Patrizia Ziveri. She is a Research Professor at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA) at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Spain. She started to work on global marine change in the 1990s, focusing first on the impacts of El Niño climate oscillations on phytoplankton in the Eastern Pacific. After a postdoc at USC, USA, she moved to the Vrije University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and joined the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) in 2014 at ICTA-UAB. She was the Scientific Director of the ICTA-UAB Center of Excellence ‘María de Maeztu’ from 2015 to 2020. In addition, she coordinates the Marine and Environmental Biogeosciences Research Group that catalyzes research on the natural and human-driven marine processes addressing significant marine global change and sustainability challenges.