Topics: Indianapolis Center, International Education

January 18, 2011

Higher education leaders from Afghanistan and representatives of Canadian and U.S. universities will engage in "Lessons Learned and the Way Ahead" during a Jan. 25-26 conference at Ball State University's Indianapolis Center.

A focus of the two-day event will be the Afghanistan Ministry of Higher Education's strategic plan and the role that relationships with North American universities can play in its fulfillment. The intentions of major international donors on Afghanistan's higher education sector also will be a principal topic. Additional conversations will explore faculty partnerships across a range of subjects including agriculture, education, engineering, journalism, medicine and political science, among others.

Delegates from the Afghanistan Ministries of Education and Higher Education will join chancellors and deans from Kabul University and Kabul Polytechnic University as well as Kandahar, Khost and Herat universities to share information about ongoing and potential new partnerships.

Ball State was selected to host the international gathering in part because of its successful relationship with the U.S. Department of State's university linkages program, aimed at giving technical and curriculum assistance to institutions in Afghanistan and Iraq. The university has received two $1 million grants to help Kandahar University in Afghanistan develop economics curricula emphasizing free market principles and entrepreneurship and to assist in the creation of a more student-centered curriculum and teaching style at Tikrit University in Iraq.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to bring together so many universities connected by a common goal of contributing to the educational, economic and social development of this region," said Ken Holland, dean of the Rinker Center for International Programs. "This conference not only provides a platform for all parties to share and examine current efforts but also to collectively plan for the future."

More than a dozen U.S. and Canadian universities will be participating in the conference. Roy Norton, consul general of Canada, will give welcoming remarks for the historic event.

The conference is made possible by a grant from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and funding from the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. The aid was received through Ball State's newly established Center for International Development, which serves as a university-wide international research support center with an initial focus on applying for and managing grants in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.