Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Georgia State receives $900,000 to develop West African university

Leaders from Georgia State University and the International University of Grand-Bassam on Monday signed a collaborative agreement, expanding the partnership between the two institutions over the next three years.

As part of the agreement, IUGB will give Georgia State $900,000 during the 2009-2010 academic year for help developing its programs. The grant is expected to total $3 million over the next three years.

“Today is a very important day in this relationship,” GSU President Mark Becker said. “Fifteen years in the making, this dream is now a reality.”

Georgia State began working with officials from the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire in 1994 to build IUGB. Progress was delayed because of civil war in the country and classes began in 2005 with 8 students. Today, more than 138 students are enrolled at IUGB with a goal of 1,200 students by 2014.

The International University of Grand-Bassam currently offers a two-year general education curriculum modeled after GSU’s offerings. The institution will add a third year to its programs in fall 2009 and year four will be added in 2011. IUGB currently offers majors such as computer science, mathematics, accounting, economics and international policy/governance.

Georgia State faculty members will be taking on administrative roles at IUGB. Sally Wallace, professor of economics in GSU’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, will serve as provost and vice president of academic affairs at the West African university.

Additionally, Georgia State has an exchange program with IUGB and 17 students from Cote d’Ivoire are now enrolled at Georgia State with 15 more expected to come in the fall.

“IUGB is poised to serve as a regional model of higher education in West Africa,” said IUGB President Salio Toure, who traveled to GSU for the ceremony. “But we cannot do it without the help of our friend and your institution, Georgia State.”

At Monday’s ceremony, GSU Provost Ron Henry was also presented with a medal of merit, the highest honor in higher education from the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire government, for his role in the partnership.

“I’m delighted to receive this and appreciate it very much,” said Henry, who will retire this summer. “I’m just one person who made this happen, but it’s been everyone else that’s done all the hard work.”

John Hicks, GSU’s chief international officer, is the principal investigator for the grant and the partnership with IUGB is managed by the Office of International Affairs, which he directs.

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