IIE Announces Myanmar International Relations Course

NEW YORK, September 6, 2013—The Institute of International Education announced today that it is launching a new comprehensive course designed to train Ministry officials and university representatives in developing and transitioning countries on how to create and manage an effective international relations office. The new course, “Connecting to the World: International Relations for Higher Education Institutions” will be piloted in Myanmar this fall to meet an immediate need identified during an IIE-led higher education delegation visit earlier this year. The training will be an essential step to enable universities in Myanmar to connect with institutions in the United States and other countries so that they can build institutional capacity and prepare their students to meet the current workforce needs and support rapid economic development.

In an era where education can be shared globally and tailored to local needs, IIE has developed this course with the intention that it will address an immediate need in Myanmar and help shape similar initiatives that can be used in a number of other transitioning countries in the future.

This twenty-week, path-breaking course will use a combination of face-to-face instruction and interactive digital technologies to address topics such as hosting international delegations, facilitating faculty and student exchange, cross-cultural communications, and developing international partnerships. IIE is working with Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Northern Arizona University, the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and Knowledge Platform, a next generation learning solutions platform company to develop and deliver the course. The initiative is funded in part by a grant to IIE from the Henry Luce Foundation.

In February 2013, a delegation of ten universities led by IIE’s President and CEO, Allan Goodman, and Meghann Curtis, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Programs at the Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, along with representatives of the U.S. Embassy, visited universities, organizations, and government entities in Yangon, Mandalay, and Naypyidaw. The visit was part of a broader IIE Myanmar higher education initiative which seeks to help the country rebuild its higher education capacity.

Throughout the delegation, Myanmar university administrators and Ministry officials emphasized the need to develop their internal processes and procedures to coordinate international engagement and enter into productive partnerships as Myanmar rapidly opens to the world.

The new course utilizes an innovative and timely hybrid learning model, and is sure to contribute to the ongoing global discussion on online and distance learning, transnational education, MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses), and other game-changing educational models in a professional context. After an initial in-person training workshop in Yangon, participants will complete a series of asynchronous lessons using Knowledge Platform’s interactive platform, which supports a range of digital delivery methods, such as pre-recorded lectures, video clips, readings, chat rooms, and discussion boards. IIE will provide participants with accompanying print materials and DVD recordings, and expert mentors from various countries will provide ongoing feedback and assessment for participants. Those who have successfully completed the course may also be eligible to take part in an educational study tour to the U.S. or another country.

Working with higher education institutions around the world, IIE has seen a growing global interest among universities in building up their international relations capacity. IIE President Allan Goodman said, “Universities have described the lack of capacity to engage with their counterparts in other countries as an obstacle to improving their teaching, faculty research, and student and faculty exchange. Building this capacity will help them connect with global partners, better align their programs with workforce needs and contribute to economic development in their own countries.”

A number of IIE-administered initiatives, such as the International Academic Partnership Programs, higher education delegations, programs to train international education administrators from Russia and other countries, and a series of conferences on rebuilding higher education in Iraq, have addressed this need in specific countries and sectors. This new program will enable IIE to meet the global demand more effectively, through a scalable and cost- effective platform that will disseminate best practices from our work with the worldwide higher education community.

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 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.

About the Henry Luce Foundation

The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by the late Henry R. Luce, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., to honor his parents who were missionary educators in China. The Foundation seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious and art communities. The Luce Foundation pursues its mission today through the following grant-making programs: American Art; East Asia; Luce Scholars; Theology; Higher Education and the Henry R. Luce Professorships; the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs; Public Policy and the Environment; and the Clare Boothe Luce Program for women in science, mathematics and engineering.


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