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Georgia State University
A Higher Education Partnership is Born
The impetus for the International University of Grand-Bassam came about a decade ago, when the government of Côte d’Ivoire began to look at ways to reform its higher education system to improve access to and the quality of the country’s higher education system. An important first step was to team up with Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1994 “Project Link” was initiated in 1998 to facilitate faculty and student exchange and teacher training, and to enhance academic programs in business, human resources development and education. Through Project Link, relationships were established with several higher education institutions in Côte d’Ivoire such as Ecole Normale Supérieure, the National University of Cocody and the National Polytechnic Institute.
Building on the experience of Project Link, in 1998 Côte d’Ivoire and Georgia State signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work on establishing an International University in
Côte d’Ivoire modeled on the American style of higher education. Despite political challenges in Côte d’Ivoire in 1999 and 2000, Georgia State and the Agency for Education and Development (AED), a non-governmental organization in Côte d’Ivoire established to sponsor and raise funds for the new institution, continued working together. In 2004-2005, the Côte d’Ivoire/Georgia State University partnership celebrated important milestones as the two-year curriculum of the International University of Grand-Bassam (IUGB) was established and the university’s first thirteen students started classes in January 2005. In three short years, IUGB enrollment reached 145, and in January 2012 enrollment stood at stood at 265 students, of whom 43 were exchange students at GSU. IUGB has launched its 2011-2015 five-year Strategic Business Plan that sets an enrollment goal of approximately 1,200 by the end of this planning period.
University of Houston
In July 2011, IUGB signed a Memorandum of understanding with the University of Houston (UH), College of Technology. This agreement establishes IUGB’s second international partnership and brings significant potential to both complement and expand the existing relationship with GSU. The relationship emerges from a series of visits to Abidjan and Houston by the Dean of HU’s College of Technology and senior officials from IUGB including the President, the COO and the university’s International Education Advisor.
The two institutions will focus initially on the following areas: student exchange; faculty exchange and professional development and training programs; technology development and distance education; and applied research in areas relevant to the practical needs of the country and region.
As the relationship develops other mutual areas of cooperation will be identified and pursued
During a two-day visit from November 14-15, 3012 to the University Alabama, Birmingham (UAB), President Touré signed a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding with UAB Provost Dr. Linda Lucas.The agreement paves the way for cooperation between the institutions in a range of endeavors including but not limited to the following areas:
- Exchange of academic staff and researchers;
- Exchange of students;
- Collaborative research and joint academic meetings;
- Exchange of documentation, research materials, publications and information in fields of mutual interest;
- Development, organization and hosting of joint academic and cultural symposia, conferences, workshops and meetings;
- Exchange of information, advice and assistance relating to areas of mutual interest including, but not limited to, research activities, obtaining grants and funding, technology transfer and research commercialization, development of educational and training programs, staff retention, and long range planning and institutional development; and
- Other activities of mutual benefit for the Parties.
The two institutions will jointly develop individual cooperation activities and sign separate agreements detailing the goals and objectives, funding sources and other pertinent content of these agreements.
President Touré and his delegation consisting of Chief Operations Officer Mr. Samuel Koffi, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Kingston Nyamapfene and USA Representative, Ambassador John F. Hicks, toured UAB facilities and met with senior leadership of the University including Office Directors, Deans, the Provost and President.
The two institutions agreed to identify opportunities for selected IUGB students to transfer to UAB to complete their bachelor’s degrees; collaboration between the two Schools of Business; and the posting of recent graduates from UAB’s English Language Institute on short-term assignments to enhance capacity of IUGB’s pre-Undergraduate Program and to teach English preparation courses.
Plans are underway for officials from UAB to visit IUGB next Spring to solidify cooperation activities.