UA partners with South Africa

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The Bliss Institute at the University of Akron, in conjunction with the University of Pretoria in South Africa, was awarded a grant worth $1.8 million. Both universities will share the grant given by the United States Agency for International Development over the next three years.

UA will be receiving $280,000 for their part in this combined program.

Gail Garbrandt, Manager of the Bliss Institute, said UA and UP will be working together in an exchange program aimed to help duplicate UA’s program of applied politics. UP will send five students over to work with the Bliss Institute in 2009 to take classes and participate in an internship program. This number will increase to 11 in 2010 and 15 by 2011.

I will be traveling to South Africa this summer, I was there in October to help promote the program and talk to potential donors. I’ll be going back in July with Dr. Steve Brooks from the Bliss Institute.

Dr. Roland Henwood is heading the program in South Africa and came to UA this week. He explained how important this program is to his region.

It’s very important for us as it is a new area of expertise that we’re developing, Henwood said. It’s one that is going to make a very important and meaningful contribution to politics in South Africa.

The students from South Africa will be picked out of existing programs at Pretoria who have shown an interest in the field.

Henwood said he was looking for students who have an interest in the subject area that we will be focusing on and also students who are academically strong and doing what they’re supposed to be doing as students.

It’s the only university that runs this specific type of program… Henwood said. This is a good program.

However, the exchange program will only be a one-way swap.

Our students will not go there, our faculty will travel there to help support the Pretoria faculty, and help to identify students to come here, Garbrandt said.

Garbrandt said those students coming from Pretoria will be graduate students and UA’s faculty along with Pretoria will help select who makes the trip.