The University of Cincinnati is one of only a handful of American universities to be selected for an international partnership to rebuild Iraq’s educational system and its economy. UC President Gregory H. Williams and Salahaddin University-Hawler President Ahmed Anwar Dezaye celebrated the partnership in a formal Nov. 4 partnership-agreement-signing ceremony at the UC Teachers College.
UC is among only five U.S. institutions selected for the university linkages program, an initiative sponsored by the Academy for Educational Development – a nonprofit organization that works to improve education around the world – and the American Embassy in Baghdad. The partnerships are funded by a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of State.
Representatives of Salahaddin University-Hawler in Northern Iraq are visiting their UC partners and touring Cincinnati this week after faculty and administrators representing UC’s College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) and College of Business visited Salahaddin University-Hawler last summer.
Gulbahar Beckett, UC associate professor of teacher education and director of the UC Center for International Education and Research, says that UC was matched with Salahaddin University-Hawler because of CECH’s national reputation in building excellence in teaching, as well as its strengths in distance learning programs and Teaching English-as-a-Second Language programs.
As they also looked ahead to rebuilding Iraq’s economy in the 21st century, Salahaddin University-Hawler representatives were seeking an American university that could support efforts to create a new academic department of banking and finance, as well as provide the latest research involving economics, business and finance – a match they found through UC’s nationally acclaimed College of Business.
“We’re excited to work with Salahaddin University-Hawler. The College of Business has a great deal of experience in building international collaborations in East Asia, in Europe and in South America. This will be the college’s first venture into building partnerships in the Middle East,” says Lawrence M. Gales, academic director for international programs for the College of Business and associate professor of management.
The UC/ Salahaddin University-Hawler three-year partnership aims to accomplish the following goals:
- Increase fluency in English
- Strengthen the expertise of Iraqi faculty
- Strengthen Iraqi faculty skills in teaching
- Increase Iraqi faculty research talent
- Strengthen online learning and teaching skills
- Build international exchange opportunities
- Establish a Hawler community career center
UC graduate students in education are also assisting the partnership and are currently working with UC faculty in creating courses and setting up an online learning community through UC’s BlackBoard software – a portal for online learning as well as worldwide learning communities.
Holly Johnson, associate professor of education and head of UC’s School of Education, says a total of 23 American universities submitted proposals for the five Iraqi university partnerships in the international linkages program. Other U.S. partners involved in the international linkages program are Ball State University, Oklahoma State University, Cleveland State University and the University of Kentucky.
Members of the Salahaddin University-Hawler Delegation Visiting UC:
- Mohammed Aziz Saeed, director of Academic Relations
- Ahmed A. Dezaye, university president
- Ali Mahmood Jukil, head, Department of English
- Dlofan Saifadeen Saadi, head, English department, College of Education
UC was recently ranked among the top 200 universities in the world by the prestigious Times Higher Education magazine. The University of Cincinnati is classified as a Research University (Very High Research Activity) by the Carnegie Commission and is ranked as one of America’s top 25 public research universities by the National Science Foundation.