Partnership Connects UNCW, Pakistan Scholars

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Visiting scholars from the International Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan will spend the next three weeks partnering with UNCW faculty and students in professional development, research and community engagement.

The collaboration is part of an educational and cultural partnership funded by a $1 million grant through the U.S. Department of State. UNCW was awarded the three-year grant in October 2014. Under the Fulbright-Hays Act (officially known as the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961), the State Department initiated the grant program linking Pakistani universities with U.S. institutions in 2012 with the mission to promote mutual understanding through educational and cultural exchanges between American citizens and citizens of other countries.

The six visiting scholars were officially welcomed to UNCW Oct. 6 during a reception at the Wise Alumni House.

“The relationship we are developing with the International Islamic University in Islamabad is very important, and we want to do more of these partnerships in the future,” said UNCW Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli. “There is nothing more important than connecting people. This project allows us to conduct research together, it allows us to teach together and it allows us to learn together.”

UNCW and IIUI faculty and administrators plan to implement a collaborative model for enhanced teaching, research and community engagement. Faculty and students from both universities will also have the opportunity to study, travel, publish and learn more about each other’s culture.

The grant underwrites cross-campus collaboration among various UNCW faculty, drawing on the experience and insights of UNCW’s Center for Teaching Excellence and Center for Faculty Leadership (CTE), the Department of Public and International Affairs and the Department of English. IIUI’s scholars will also work with UNCW’s Centers for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Leadership with hopes of establishing a similar center in Islamabad.

“This is an incredible opportunity,” said Dr. Husnul Amin, Assistant Professor of Politics and International Relations. “Our faculty and students will benefit from UNCW’s expertise. I hope we will also be contributing to the university’s academic environment.”

Along with participating in research and professional development, visiting scholars will take part in an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) event on key decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, and will speak to the North Carolina World Trade Association, a student organization in the Cameron School of Business.

“This grant showcases how UNCW and IIUI can, together, work to promote the U.S. Department of State’s diplomatic goals of connecting individuals to make lasting change,” said Cara Cilano, English professor and grant program director. “Here at UNCW, we also have the invaluable opportunity to learn about and with colleagues from a nation whose history is linked with our own.”

Dr. Cilano, as well as Drs. Jess Boersma, Diana Ashe, Carrie Clements and Karl Ricanek, were responsible for writing the winning grant and will serve as the chief collaborators with their counterparts in Pakistan.

For more information, visit the Team for Interdisciplinary Global Research web page.

-- Venita Jenkins