The Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography (XIEG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the University of Lay Adventists of Kigali (UNILAK) are thrilled by their decade of pleasant and fruitful collaborations in the areas of natural resources and environment protection.

“We started our partnership in June 2012 and it was very successful; together we achieved a lot of projects, we have seen our dreams becoming a reality and still we need to see many more successes” said Dr. Jean Ngamije, the Vice Chancellor of UNILAK.

This decade anniversary celebration takes place one day after the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Rwanda.

Apart from the anniversary which took place this Tuesday November 9th, 2021; both institutions; XIEG- CAS and UNILAK have committed to partner for more five years (2022 to 2026).

The renewed partnership agreement followed the end of the initial 10 years marked by strong academic and research collaboration in the areas of natural resource and environment.

In the last past ten years, UNILAK and XIEG-CAS partnered in capacity building which saw UNILAK students and staff  going for further studies in China.

“Since 2014, students and staff from UNILAK studied in XIEG-CAS and were awarded masters and PhD degrees. Their researches focused on natural resources and environment not only in Rwanda but also in East Africa”; said Dr. Mupenzi Christophe; the Director of Research and Consultancy at UNILAK.

“This cooperation has boosted research finding disseminations with UNILAK research publishing more than 30 papers in international journals,” added Dr. Mupenzi.

Research projects were also undertaken whereby every year an international conference was organized and held in Kigali since 2013.

Under this MoU; XIEG-CAS and UNILAK committed to look for funds to facilitate the running activities of the SAJOREC Rwanda Office and the Joint Research Center for Natural Resources and Environment in East Africa.

Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography and Wuhan Botanical Garden have promised to avail professors and other related support for Master of Sciences in Environmental and Development Studies in UNILAK; they will also continue offer scholarships to two or three persons from UNILAK each year for Master’s and PhD program.

“We have a lot to celebrate at the end of a decade of our partnership especially the establishment of the Joint Research Center for Natural Resources and Environment in East Africa based at UNILAK since 2016 and the launch of Rwanda China Gaofen Satellite 1 & 2 ImageAtlas;” said Prof Chen Xi, President of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Xinjiang Province.

Renewal of partnership agreement between XIEG-CAS and UNILAK ( Archive Photo, 2016)
Joint Research Center for Natural Resources and Environment in East Africa based at UNILAK since 2016