The Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration – TAAAC – was created in 2008 as a unique multi-disciplinary educational initiative, partnering University of Toronto (UofT) Canada with Addis Ababa University (AAU) Ethiopia. TAAAC helps strengthen post graduate programme capacity and sustainability for medical, engineering, social sciences and other academic and technology graduate training programs.
The collaboration was inspired by the success of the Toronto Addis Ababa Psychiatry Project (TAAPP), through which the Departments of Psychiatry at UofT and AAU collaborated to enable the first residency in psychiatry to open in Ethiopia at AAU. TAAPP started in 2003 and by 2008 it was recognized as a workable, effective model for accelerating the creation of medical specialists in Ethiopia. It has been embraced by AAU as a template for all partnerships with Western universities.
TAAAC is focused on academic excellence between the two universities and their partner hospitals. TAAAC is a non-profit organization supported by the leadership of the participating faculties, departments, divisions and institutes. TAAAC has a well-defined organizational structure and a clear governance model.
AAU graduate programming is strengthened by the best and the brightest UofT academic faculty who volunteer to teach and co-build essential residency, fellowship, Masters and PhD programs on the ground in Ethiopia with their Ethiopian colleagues. Under the leadership and guidance of AAU faculty the volunteers teach courses, supervise PhDs, provide clinical supervision and teach technical skills. Once trained, the new graduates are hired to expand the AAU faculty and take on education responsibilities so that each programme is able to replicate itself, ultimately independent of UofT assistance. Similarly, newly qualified graduates are hired as faculty to populate the 40 new universities recently opened in Ethiopia.
Expansion of in-country graduate programming opportunities positively impacts migration of young professionals to other countries for training. By establishing a critical mass of faculty and practitioners in each needed speciality, TAAAC has directly contributed to a 90% retention rate of newly graduated medical and academic experts.
TAAAC is a model for collaboration in global health, promoting an accessible robust health system and contributing directly to ongoing economic and infrastructure growth. By facilitating excellence in academic training, research and practice, a new generation of confident and competent young Ethiopians will help fulfill their country’s great potential. AAU is becoming a magnet centre of excellence for education in sub-Saharan Africa and a leading research university in Africa. Simultaneously, UofT faculty and students engage in a meaningful collaboration that builds on UofT’s commitment to global citizenship and international engagement.
Der biaber anbessa yaser is an Amharic saying that translates as: together a spider’s web will tie a lion. An apt inspiration for a growing partnership between two universities that work together to promote excellence in graduate programmes.
Vision & Mission
A world where exemplary graduate education is locally available to all.
To form a strong, enduring and broad academic educational collaboration between UofT Canada and AAU Ethiopia, through which each university gains from the experience in different ways. Together, we enable excellent post graduate programmes to flourish at AAU, increase understanding and skill sets in cross cultural education, and both partners make research gains.