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Tulane University Plans Center for African Resource Development

September 30, 2009 1:45 AM


Keith Brannon

Sen. Mary Landrieu, The Tulane Energy Institute and high-ranking officials from energy-producing African nations are taking steps to create a program to educate and modernize natural resource ministries across the African continent.

Representatives from 11 African nations, the U.S. Institute for Peace, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Energy, The World Bank and several major international energy and energy services corporations met in Washington, D.C., last week to discuss establishing the Tulane University Center for African Resource Development. The center would train African governmental employees responsible for overseeing resource development in common international regulatory practices and resource management.

"America needs to ensure that it has many diverse and secure energy sources, and our partners in Africa will be a part of that energy mix for the foreseeable future," Landrieu said. "Meanwhile, these nations need to attract investment and develop strong ties with U.S. technology innovators. I can think of no better place than Tulane University to facilitate the collaboration of global leaders in academia, industry, and governance."

The Center for African Resource Development"s core program would include a month-long Master Certificate Program to provide participants with a thorough introduction to the U.S. energy industry, its management practices and cutting-edge technology used in oil and gas exploration and production. The program would utilize a “study-tour” format that includes industry site visits and presentations by government officials, university professors and industry speakers.

Geoffrey G. Parker, director of the Tulane Energy Institute, said that getting strong support from Landrieu, African officials and the private sector is an important first step to launching the new program.

“The level of engagement and sense of enthusiasm for this effort is inspiring,” Parker said. “We look forward to working with our partner organizations to make it a reality.”

Industry support is critical to the Center"s success. Corporations will participate by hosting participants, delivering some components of the curriculum and providing tours of key energy facilities located in Louisiana and Texas. Participants in the program will travel between the U.S. Institute for Peace in Washington, D.C., Tulane University in New Orleans, the Tulane Executive Center in Houston and industrial sites in the Gulf South.

The Tulane Energy Institute was founded in 2003 within the A.B. Freeman School of Business to provide educational opportunities and pursue research programs that are aimed at improving the understanding of the integration of energy markets, policy, technology, and the environment. The Institute provides an organizational framework for Tulane"s energy-related initiatives, including research, industry partnerships, education programming in energy finance, analysis and risk management and the development of a skilled pool of employee talent to work in the industry and related financial institutions.