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UC part of education collaboration with Iraqi universities

A group of University of Cincinnati faculty and students will go to Iraq in November as part of a collaboration between U.S. and Iraq university to strengthen educational and economic opportunities in the Middle East county.

Starting Nov. 2, representative from UC's College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services (CECH) and the UC Career Development Center (CDC) will go to Salahaddin University-Hawler in Erbil, Iraq.

It's the latest in a series of trips between the two universities, which are in the third year of a U.S. State Department-sponsored linkages program geared toward undergraduate Iraqi students. Originally scheduled to end this year, the collaboration was given a six-month extension, says Laura Dell, academic director of distance learning for the UC School of Education.

"I'm going to be teaching a two-week long seminar on education research. We'll also be observing teaching in classrooms and providing peer feedback," Dell says.

The universities will also plan a joint spring conference.

UC faculty will lead career development workshops, providing feedback on research courses, discussing literature and exploring future opportunities for post-doctoral students.

Theresa Aberle, adjunct instructor and program coordinator for the UC Career Development Center, will help lead a conference on creating career centers.

"I'll be there with four Iraqi universities and four U.S. universities. We'll be sharing information on how to set up career centers, how to do presentations and marketing, and all the different pieces of what a takes to get a career center working," Aberle says.

As Iraq is transitioning into a more democratic government form, privates businesses are moving in and looking for a workforce. It's a cultural shift for the country that encompasses many important topics, including career development.

"They've never had to have a career center before; it's a whole new venture for them," Aberle says.

UC is among only five U.S. institutions picked to partner with five Iraqi universities. The partnership fits in with UC's 2019 strategic plan to expand international partnerships and overseas research collaborations.

"It's part of the mission to help wherever we can," Dells says.

Salahaddin University-Hawler is in the Kurdish region of Iraq, where many natives speak English as a second language, Dell says. That's made it much easier for each side to communicate and work together. Located in the Northern part of Iraq, it's also not as subject to ongoing violence. This is Dell's second trip there.

"What we see of Iraq on the news is violence, and upheaval. It's been really nice to see the other side of the Middle East. People are excited to talk to Americans and very nice," she says.

By Feoshia H. Davis
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