The UGA Tunisia Educational Partnership
2008 Heiskell Award Winner: International Exchange Partnerships
Nomination submitted by: Takoi K. Hamrita, Associate Professor and Director for the UGA Tunisia Educational Partnership
Identifying the need for educational reform in Tunisia, partnering with the Tunisian Ministry of Education to address it, and mobilizing university and community resources to collaborate with the Arab-Muslim world amidst the current social and political climate, the University of Georgia Tunisia Educational Partnership serves as a unique model for international collaboration.
Established in 2002 by Professor Hamrita, a UGA Engineering Faculty member originally from Tunisia, the project aims to contribute to Tunisian educational reform efforts by building a sustainable e-learning environment to increase access to education; implementing international standards; promoting civic engagement among elementary, secondary and university students; and by strengthening the connections between higher education and K-12.
Community building and cultural understanding are integral parts of this partnership, and numerous events have been held at UGA to promote international understanding, including lectures on U.S./Arab relations by the Tunisian Ambassador. UGA project participants receive intensive Arabic language training and Tunisian participants receive training in English. UGA has also created a service learning course to enable UGA students to contribute to the projects. Arnett C. Mace Jr., senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at UGA says, “The program dovetails precisely with UGA core missions off teaching, research and public service and supports UGA’s strategic direction toward competing in a global economy.” Now in its sixth year, the program seeks to collaborate with other Arab countries and U.S. institutions to extend its efforts.