July 24, 2013 – Sulaimani, Iraq – The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) is pleased to announce new institutional partnerships with the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY-Albany) and Miami University of Ohio (MUO). These collaborations will not only provide AUIS students with exciting new curriculum options and exchange opportunities, but also assist the University in fulfilling its mission to build the region’s human capacity by strengthening the fields of public health, public administration, and water resource management and policy.
On July 10, AUIS President Athanasios Moulakis met with SUNY-Albany President Robert Jones to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing a cooperative relationship between the institutions.
The partnership will include faculty and student exchanges, designing and sharing curriculum, and using online and telecommunications courses as a cooperative mechanism for student learning. The MOU also provided for the possibility of developing joint undergraduate and graduate programs in Public Administration and Public Health.
“SUNY Albany offers a number of signal advantages for our students: excellent academic standards, opportunities for fellowships and internships with the New York State Assembly, and a manageable and inexpensive town that would make it easy for our students to be well received and to find their way,” said President Moulakis. “Central to this partnership is an ambitious initiative to introduce public health education, which would make AUIS a hub not merely for the KRG and Iraq but for the broader region.”
Miami University of Ohio
AUIS and Miami University recently received a grant from the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) Science program to establish a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) pilot program in freshwater science and policy in Tigris River basin. The program will combine a new curriculum with hands-on research and exchange opportunities to teach and train AUIS students in the first stages of becoming scientific and policy experts on Iraqi water issues.
The grant provides resources to enhance experiential learning through hands-on research. Students that complete the new curriculum, which includes courses such as such as: Freshwater Science, Water Policy, and Water in Iraq: Past, Present and Future, will have the opportunity to pursue original research on water in Sulaimani or travel to Miami University to develop projects focused on freshwater science and development in Iraq.
“Undergraduates can do a lot if you give them the right tools,” said Dr. CJ Geraci, Assistant Professor of Natural Science and the project’s principal investigator. “This grant supports our mission and our strength in using research as part of the learning experience."
As a further enhancement of human capital, the program will engage AUIS’ Professional Development Institute to train local high school teachers to incorporate environmental issues into their lessons. Additionally, during the 2014 Sulaimani Forum, AUIS will host a panel highlighting the intersection of water and development in Iraq.
AUIS students will travel to Ohio to study biodiversity of freshwater invertebrates and other water-related research topics at Miami University's laboratories.
About PEER Science
Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), PEER Science provides support for researchers in 87 eligible countries worldwide on a wide range of development-related topics, including food security, climate change, water, biodiversity, disaster mitigation, and renewable energy. Applicants to PEER Science work in collaboration with a U.S. partner who holds an active award from the NSF to support research and capacity-building activities on topics of importance to USAID.
SUNY-Albany is an internationally recognized public research institution that offers 118 undergraduate majors and minors and 114 graduate programs. Many of these programs are nationally ranked, among them public administration through the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy. Additionally, their School of Public Health has a partnership with the New York State Department of Health that allows most of their 200+ faculty members at the School have primary appointments at the Department of Health that allows students to have regular access to health experts as teachers, mentors and internship advisors, as well as a vast array of internship opportunities.
About Miami University of Ohio
Miami University is a public university located in Oxford, Ohio. Miami offers the bachelor's degree in over 100 areas of study and the master's degree in more than 50 areas, as well as a number of doctoral degrees. In addition to its many academic offerings, Miami University's has an Ecology Research Center that offers a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. The REU provides undergraduates with the opportunity to perform ecological research, attend professional meetings, participate in field trips, and hear well-known scientists speak.
The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani is a non-profit institution for public benefit located in Sulaimani, Iraq. Currently, the University offers six undergraduate degree programs (Mechanical Engineering, General Engineering, English Journalism, Business Administration, International Studies, and Information Technology) that provide both a solid foundation of knowledge and industry-specific skills and encourage critical thinking. Additionally, the University offers an executive MBA program that prepares professionals to improve their performance in the globalized business environment.