50th anniversary of strategic partnership with Ohio University

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COLUMBUS, OHIO: Malaysia will celebrate its 50th anniversary of strategic partnership with Ohio University with the launch of an outreach programme on Tuesday at the university in Athens, Ohio.

The one-day programme, an initiative under the Tun Abdul Razak Chair in Southeast Asian Studies housed at the university's Centre for International Studies, celebrates the long-standing relationship between the university and Malaysia which began in the mid 1960s.  

Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is here on a four-day official visit,  is expected to deliver a keynote address at the launch of the programme.

Muhyiddin and his entourage, including his wife Puan Sri Norainee Abdul Rahman, arrived here on Saturday night.

The long-standing partnership with Ohio University had brought new programmes to Malaysia as well as the American-style of teaching and curriculum to the then Institut Teknologi Mara (UiTM).

The Tun Abdul Razak Chair was also a result of the long standing relationship with the university. This endowed chair is unique and made history as the first of its kind to be established in a North American university by a foreign government.

Named in honour of second prime minister, the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, the chair is an extraordinary venture in higher education. 

Since its establishment in 1981, it has made important contributions to Malaysian-American understanding and educated more than 2,000 Malaysian citizens, helped countless of Americans acquire expertise on Malaysia and Southeast Asia, developed partnerships, and built the finest library collection on Malaysia in the Americas.

The chair had also made it possible for Ohio to host 14 senior professors from Malaysia to teach, do research, and organise outreach programmes to enhance mutual understanding between the US and Malaysia.  The programmes had produced hundreds of graduates in the Bachelor of Business Administration, Communication and Management fields.

To date, there are some 2,400 Ohio University alumnis in Malaysia, making it the largest concentration of alumni outside the state of Ohio.

Currently, there are some 100 Malaysians studying in various fields at the university.

According to the Ohio University International Studies newsletter, the current Tun Abdul Razak Chair holder, Prof. Habibah Ashari, has initiated many conferences, forums and lectures to promote Malaysia to the students and faculty at OU. 

During the outreach programme on Tuesday, a booth managed by the Education Malaysia offices from Washington and Chicago will showcase Malaysian graduate students' research work, as well as the university professors' work and collaboration with universities and organisations in Malaysia.

There will also be information on research, sabbatical, and internships opportunities to engage OU students directly.

Tourism Malaysia New York and Malaysia Industrial Development Authority Chicago will also open booths to introduce Malaysia as a tourist and investment destination.

 During his visit, Muhyiddin is also expected to visit the Malaysian Resource Centre and the Institute for Corrosion and Multiphase Technology (ICMT) at the university.   

 The resource centre, which serves as the US depository for books, government documents and media that exemplify Malaysian culture and history, was established in 1987 to better inform individuals and organisations in North America about Malaysia.

ICMT, meanwhile, is the leading centre for the studies of corrosion of pipelines, and has worked with the world's prominent oil and chemical companies, including oil and gas giant Petronas . There are currently four Malaysian PhD students at the institute.   

Muhyiddin is also expected to attend a gathering on Sunday with the Malaysian community in Ohio where he is expected to provide insights on the latest developments in Malaysia. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is here on a four-day official visit, is expected to deliver a keynote address at the launch of the programme.


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