Pakistani Scholars Arrive in Wilmington to Collaborate with UNCW Faculty in Grant Partnership

Monday, November 14, 2016

Six scholars from International Islamic University in Islamabad are spending three weeks at UNCW as faculty in residence as part of a three-year State Department grant to promote educational and cultural exchanges between American and Pakistani universities. The group is expected to be in Wilmington through Nov. 26.

The $1 million State Department grant focuses on three areas: increasing scholarly collaboration, improving the practice of teaching and regional engagement.

“We hope that exposure to each others’ scholarly practice will inform both universities for the better,” said professor of psychology Carrie Clements, the principal investigator on the grant team. “Our sincerest aspiration is that our outreach to the community of Islamabad and the Pakistanis’ outreach to our region will allow for greater understanding of each others’ cultures with the mutual respect and tolerance that such greater understanding always affords.”

The UNCW team also includes Diana Ashe, associate professor of English and director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Leadership; Jess Boersma, associate professor of world languages and culture and director of ETEAL (Experiencing Transformative Education through Applied Learning); computer sciences professor Karl Ricanek; and assistant professor of international studies Florentina Andreescu.

Visiting faculty from IIUI are:

 v  Komal Shahzadi, Department of English

Salma Kalim, Lecturer, Department of English

Farrukh Nadeem, Department of English, IIUI Specialization: Semiotics and Cultural studies

Mahmood-ul-Hassan, Department of English

Inamullah Jan, Department of Politics and International Relations

Nadia Awan, Department of Politics and International Relations

While in Wilmington, the visiting lecturers, who specialize in English or politics and international relations, are interacting with students and faculty in academic settings, informal discussions and weekly coffee meetings. The IIUI representatives will participate in the Intercultural Festival, International Education Week discussions and a community panel.

The group had the opportunity to see the U.S. political process at work on Election Day and attended a screening of the documentary “Generation Startup” as part of the Cucalorus Film Festival. Before they return home, they are scheduled to enjoy a traditional American Thanksgiving meal.

UNCW received the State Department 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 to promote mutual understanding through educational and cultural exchanges.

The partnership involves a diverse cross-section of disciplines at UNCW. The proposal originated with the Team for Interdisciplinary Global Research and involves the Departments of English and Public and International Affairs, the Center for Teaching Excellence and the Center for Faculty Leadership.

In October 2015, UNCW welcomed six Pakistani scholars for a three-week academic visit. In May 2016 the university hosted a three-day international conference, “The New Global City: Presenting and Translating Cultures within a Worldwide Citizenry,” that involved IIUI faculty. UNCW faculty members also have traveled to Islamabad to collaborate with their colleagues at IIUI.

-- Tricia Vance