By Hrachya Topalyan, Eurasia Foundation Program Manager for U.S.-Russia University Partnership Program
International education brings people of different cultures together, helps them to overcome and accept differences and learn about other nations. Through international education the younger generation learns how to become more tolerant and perceptive, thus promoting peace and harmony in societies.
Eurasia Foundation has been promoting international education in the Eurasia region since 1992. Many of the projects were focused on stimulating internationalization and supporting meaningful partnerships among leading higher education institutions. Promoting international education remains a very important area for EF’s development projects, particularly as we expand to provide services benefitting other regions of the world, such as the Middle East and Northern Africa.
In 2015, EF introduced a project focused on launching and incubating international partnerships among higher education institutions in the United States and Russia, with the potential to expand to include other countries and regions. The U.S.-Russia University Partnership Program, a three-year program supported by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, promotes and develops sustainable long-term linkages between universities in both countries. EF has engaged more than 330 universities and worked directly with 31 of them to develop 15 international partnership projects focused on educational inclusivity, child welfare, accessible transport, social work, STEM, and environmental education. This program has brought hundreds of students and professors together establishing not only institutional, but also personal linkages.
EF is expanding its educational projects in the Middle East and North Africa region. A few months ago, we started laying the groundwork to develop international projects between higher education institutions in Jordan and the United States. Members of our education team are currently in Jordan to meet with university officials and explore possible partnerships. The results of this project will support higher education reform in Jordan and contribute to establishing and strengthening university linkages with U.S. universities.
Eurasia Foundation will continue promoting international education between the United States and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries. In 2017, EF will be one of the three implementing partners of the USA Pavilion at the World Expo in Astana, Kazakhstan. EF will recruit 40 undergraduate and graduate student ambassadors from across the U.S. to travel to and volunteer at the event for three months. Student ambassadors will serve as guides and national representatives of the United States and participate in activities partnering American and Kazakhstani students. These students will experience other cultures and learn about latest international innovations and share their experience with peers from other countries.
As we move forward into the 21st century of innovations and knowhow, international education is also transforming and receiving a new look. Although traditional exchanges are still very valuable, many other ways are emerging to help promote international education. Virtual exchanges, online education, virtual libraries, all these approaches are enabling opportunities for those who have no other ways for traveling and partnering internationally.
EF clearly understands the need for such projects and works towards promoting international education through these new innovative approaches. We hope to share more projects about our international education work with you soon.