NEW YORK, March 5, 2013—The Institute of International Education joins with U.S. universities to announce immediate outcomes of the U.S. higher education delegation to Myanmar last week to explore potential partnership opportunities. The delegation visited universities, organizations, and government entities in Yangon, Mandalay, and Naypyidaw, as part of a broader IIE Myanmar higher education initiative which seeks to help the country rebuild its higher education capacity.
Allan Goodman, the Institute’s President & CEO, led the delegation, together with Meghann Curtis, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Academic Programs, and representatives from the U.S. Embassy. This is the largest delegation of U.S. universities to travel to Myanmar, with the following institutions: American University, Arizona State University, Ball State University, Hawaii Pacific University, Northern Arizona University, Northern Illinois University, Rutgers University, Samford University, the University of Massachusetts – Lowell, and the University of Washington.
The delegation visited nine universities throughout Myanmar and engaged in in-depth discussions with several government ministries, including the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Science & Technology and Ministry of Health. As the first step to building deeper academic engagement between our two countries, the delegation members gave lectures and workshops for hundreds of faculty and staff members at the universities they visited. The U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs discussed recently announced Fulbright opportunities for citizens of both countries.
Later this month, IIE will issue a report based on the visits that will include observations on the context of higher education in Myanmar, an analysis of needs facing the sector, and recommendations to support partnerships and academic exchanges. Some initial indications regarding areas of need include: English language training for teachers, best practices and building capacity for university administrators to develop international programs and partnerships, training and curriculum development in the areas of law, international relations, and public administration, as well as skill development in areas such as research proposals and collaboration, quality assurance, and teaching methodologies.
As immediate follow-up to these productive visits, members of the delegation have announced concrete university-led initiatives which will benefit citizens, students and faculty from both countries. Announced at a press briefing at the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon, the commitments include:
- Four American universities are committing to form a consortium to assist university libraries in this country: Northern Illinois University, Rutgers Universities, University of Washington, and Arizona State University.
- Arizona State, Rutgers, and Northern Illinois Universities have all agreed to host librarians for up to a month in order to support the development of academic libraries in local universities.
- Northern Illinois University will fully fund four faculty members to come to Myanmar to give lectures in the coming year.
- Samford University agrees to sponsor one technology specialist from their faculty to come to Myanmar Institute of Theology to help them upgrade their technological capacity.
- Ball State University will sponsor a political science faculty member to visit Myanmar and give lectures on political science topics.
- Hawaii Pacific University will sponsor up to five English teachers from each semester to come to their campus for short-term and semester-long programs.
- American University in Washington D.C. will provide two or more fellowships, funded by the Nippon Foundation, to students from Myanmar to complete an online Master’s Degree in International Affairs focused on Comparative and International Disability Policy (CIDP) in the ASEAN region. Most of the work will be conducted over the internet, with a two-week residency in Bangkok this August. The degree takes 2 years and each fellowship is valued at $60,000.
- Northern Arizona University agreed to host one faculty member from the English Department of a local university for up to one month to introduce them to their university’s intensive English language teaching program, curriculum design and to provide faculty mentorship.
- Rutgers University committed to supporting a short-term visit by a humanities professor from a local university. Rutgers will also financially support faculty members from its faculties of health, pharmacy, and environmental sciences to make short-term visits to give lectures at local universities.
- Arizona State University will explore the establishment of a joint certificate in the study of religions with Myanmar universities.
About the Institute of International Education
The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.