USIA funds educational partnership between SUNY New Paltz and Uzbekistan
NEW PALTZ -- The University of New Paltz is about to become the first American university to develop an educational partnership with one of the most highly respected universities in central Asia. SUNY New Paltz has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the College and University Partnership Program of the United States Information Agency to enter into a three-year agreement with Tashkent State Economic University (TSEU) in Uzbekistan to assist it in the development of its new business curriculum.
The partnership is an outgrowth of an earlier agreement between the two institutions, developed in October 1997, when SUNY New Paltz President Roger Bowen first traveled to Uzbekistan. "The program we have proposed," said Bowen, "will emphasize the importance of democratic reform in higher education in the areas of educational administration, faculty and professional development, and multiculturalism. We are pleased to respond to the invitation from Uzbekistan's leaders in government and education and to collaborate with them on the development of a curriculum that will introduce democratic practices, awareness of diversity and equality issues, and movement toward a stable, free-market economy," stated the SUNY president.
There are several major objectives to the program according to Hadi Salavitabar, director of business programs at SUNY New Paltz and the project director for the grant. "First, we plan to develop administrative internship opportunities for TSEU's academic and administrative staff," said Salavitabar. "Two TSEU senior administrators will be selected and placed in SUNY New Paltz departments to observe, learn, and assume appropriate responsibilities as well as attend two existing graduate level courses now given as part of established masters degree programs."
Secondly, there will be a mentoring exchange program in which New Paltz faculty will be teamed with TSEU faculty who will reside in the U.S. during the second year of the grant. While in New Paltz, they will participate in teaching and curriculum development and will observe New Paltz's approach to distance learning, multiculturalism, and faculty governance. Also during this year, faculty from both universities will collaborate on research projects which will be used to develop a seminar series to be offered in Uzbekistan.
In the final year of the grant, each faculty team will present a professional development seminar at TSEU based on the results of the team projects begun during the second year of the grant. This will expose a larger number of TSEU faculty and staff to the benefits of the faculty exchange collaborative research projects. Topics will address issues relevant to emerging democracies.
"As a result of these educational activities and our work with individuals from TSEU, we hope to develop and implement a degree program in international business administration that will be delivered at TSEU," said Salavitabar. He indicated that the program in international business will expand and institutionalize an existing agreement between the partner institutions and will provide undergraduate students in Uzbekistan an opportunity to study with an established curriculum based on Western business practices. "The program will provide a course selection that combines our curriculum with the best of the TSEU curriculum," he emphasized.
"Furthermore," said Salavitabar, "we hope that this grant will lead to additional grants in the future."
Historical Background of Uzbekistan
The Republic of Uzbekistan, a country located in Central Asia, is bordered by Kazakstan on the northwest and north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on the east and southeast, Afghanistan on the south, and Turkmenistan on the southwest. Uzbekistan has an area of 172,700 square miles . The Soviet government established the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic as a constituent (union) republic of the U.S.S.R. in 1924; Uzbekistan declared its independence from the Soviet Union on Aug. 31, 1991. It has a multiparty republic with a single legislative body (Supreme Assembly). The capital is Tashkent (Toshkent).
The historical origins of the Uzbeks lie with the Mongols in the 13th century AD, when Genghis Khan's grandson Shibaqan received as his inheritance the territory lying north of the Syr Darya River, between the Ural Mountains in the west and the Irtysh River in the east. Shibaqan's Mongols, which formed part of the Golden Horde (the western part of the Mongol Empire), ruled over nearly 100 mainly Turkic tribes, who would eventually intermarry with the Mongols to form the Uzbeks and other Turkic peoples of Central Asia. In the late 16th century the region passed through various hands and gradually declined in its material prosperity and the level of its cultural life. By the 19th century the Uzbeks no longer had any political or national existence, and their land was under the nominal control of the khanates of Bukhara, Khiva, and Kokand, all three of which succumbed to Russian expansion in the period 1855-76.
The Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic was created in 1924, within the Soviet Union. In June 1990, Uzbekistan became the first Central Asian republic to declare that its own laws had sovereignty over those of the central Soviet government. Uzbekistan, as the republic is now known, achieved full independence in 1991.
Located in the heart of a dynamic college town, 90 minutes from metropolitan New York City, the State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
One of the most well-regarded public colleges in the nation, New Paltz delivers an extraordinary number of majors in Business, Liberal Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Fine and Performing Arts and Education.
New Paltz embraces its culture as a community where talented and independent minded people from around the world create close personal links with real scholars and artists who love to teach.