Students at the University of Malawi enjoy the opportunity to attend lectures at other reputable universities outside Malawi through the international collaboration that UNIMA has been fostering over the past years, providing students with access to a broader and more diverse learning experience. On 29th January, 2024, the University of Malawi, under the School of Arts, Communication, and Design, hosted visitors from some academic institutions in Europe, accompanied by staff members from the Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS). This was followed by a meeting at the University Office, where the guests discussed potential collaboration opportunities with a team led by the UNIMA Vice Chancellor, Professor Samson Sajidu. Also present during the meeting were the Deputy Registrar, Mr. Alfred Iteta Banda, the Dean of the School of Arts, Communication, and Design, Dr. Mufunanji Magalasi, the Head of the Department of Fine Arts, Dr. Grant Nthala, and members of staff from the Department of Fine Art.

The Vice-Chancellor extended his gratitude to the visitors for their visit to UNIMA. He introduced the history of UNIMA and also highlighted a number of strategic areas for potential collaboration, including the provision of joint degrees, international collaborative research, capacitation of academic and research staff, and strengthening adherence to international standards.

 “Your commitment to fostering global partnerships in education and the architectural programmes is commendable, and we are truly honored to be considered as a potential collaborator in this endeavor,” he stated. “In the field of academia, collaboration is the key to unlocking innovation and providing our students with a truly global education. By working together, we can create immersive and enriching experiences for our students, exposing them to a rich tapestry of artistic expressions from around the world,” he added, saying that the collaboration not only broadens students’ perspectives but also equips them with the skills and cultural intelligence needed to thrive in an interconnected world.

Professor Michelle P. Howard, a Professor of Art and Architecture and the leader of the Construction, Materials, Technology platform at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, began by explaining the history of art. She continued by emphasizing their interest in both architecture and art, highlighting how architecture encompasses both technical and artistic elements. Professor Howard then stated that this perspective led them to deem it necessary to collaborate with three universities: UNIMA, MUBAS, and LUANAR.

Furthermore, Professor Howard addressed the issue of gender diversity. She encouraged the university management to strive for gender balance across all levels, among students as well as staff. Professor Howard further stated that achieving gender parity is one of their goals, and they are committed to bringing about this positive change.

"As part of our community outreach, we will introduce fellowships as one way of providing opportunities for students to engage in high-level research, thereby increasing access to higher education. Additionally, we will establish a powered digital environment," she stated.

During the meeting, Mr. Gilbert Chilinde, Dean Emeritus from MUBAS, presented the idea of the partnership involving collaboration between universities in Europe and those outside Europe, with the aim of increasing access to higher education. He shared his personal experience after visiting one of the universities in Ireland and expressed his enthusiasm for initiating an exchange program at his university.