For thousands of years, the area that is now Iraq has been a center of learning, but after decades of tyranny and war, Iraqi educational institutions face the challenge of rebuilding their programs and reentering the global academic community. Recently, the University of Missouri College of Engineering received a grant from the U.S. Department of State to collaborate with the Iraqis as they struggle to recover. MU professors will work with Iraq’s University of Technology (UoT) through a partnership with the International Research & Exchanges Board’s (IREX) University Linkage Program.
“We will help rebuild Iraqi educators’ capacity to train tomorrow’s engineers,” said Vladislav Likholetov, assistant professor of chemical engineering and project leader. “The MU group will benefit too. In the modern world, engineering programs must be international or they become irrelevant. The Iraqis have ingenuity and perseverance forged by isolation from the international community and the hardships of war. It will be enriching to learn from their perspective.”
In mid-June, Likholetov and a team of MU researchers will fly to Erbil in northern Iraq and conduct a three-day intensive seminar to help UoT pursue certification from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In late summer, a group of Iraqi engineering faculty will visit MU for further collaboration.
MU will work with UoT Baghdad on four initiatives: • Develop and improve industrial engineering curriculum: MU faculty will aid UoT’s industrial engineering program in developing and improving courses. In addition, MU will help the Iraqi faculty work towards certification from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. • Develop energy-related courses and train faculty: MU will train faculty on best practices in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy technology and sustainability. The faculty groups will work together to develop new curriculum and coursework in the fields. • Train UoT scientists in nanotechnology: Iraqi scientists will be prepared for training students in nanotechnology. • Develop the UoT career center and professional development program: MU will train the UoT Career Center director in best practices for helping students find careers. UoT will implement a professional development program to enhance students’ non-academic skill sets to fit the needs of employers.
“The University of Missouri was hand-picked as a school that not only had the capability to provide what the Iraqi university wanted, but that also had interest in a long-term partnership,” said Lori Mason, project director of IREX.
MU is one of eight American universities to participate in the program. For more news, visit: http://munews.missouri.edu/ 
Posted by Janine E. Mooney, Editor
June 1, 2012