Wednesday, May 28, 2008

ISU: Partner in New Moroccan University

Indiana State University has taken its eight-year-old partnership with higher education in Morocco to a new level by signing an agreement with a leading businessman and philanthropist who envisions a new International University in Morocco, reports the ISU news bureau.

The agreement calls for Indiana State and Group Chaabi YNNA Holding to conduct an in-depth feasibility study of a not-for-profit private university mid-way between Rabat and Casablanca.

Indiana State’s partnership with Morocco higher education began in 2000 and was formalized in 2002 when Benjamin signed agreements with Hassan II University-Mohammedia and Al Akhawayne University.

Since then, more than 300 students, faculty and administrators have participated in exchange programs and the partnership has grown to include several Moroccan universities, the Ministry of Higher Education, the Moroccan High Council of Education Development and such organizations as the U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Bank and Higher Education Development.

Existing partnerships include a higher education leadership program involving 14 Moroccan universities, a sport management program with universities and the Royal Soccer Federation and a program in which Indiana State assisted in developing the first social work program in Morocco at Hassan II University.

Current projects include a visit by 40 ISU faculty and students to Morocco to work with Moroccan students and faculty in the area of social work. Indiana State is also partnering with Morocco on the development of a national educational accreditation system - a project that has attracted the attention of the World Bank, which is interested in sharing ISU’s work with other North African and Middle East nations.

The agreement between Indiana State and the Chabbi Group calls for a study phase of approximately 180 days during which each entity will assign a working group to analyze and develop a proposal that will detail the nature of future collaboration, including a business plan and an agreement on the role each will play in developing the new campus. ISU will share its expertise in such critical areas as information technology, library and media services, student housing, and records systems. The Chabbi Group will provide financial support with ISU providing technical assistance and administrative leadership toward the proposed American-style campus.

The Chabbi Group, with annual revenues of $1.7 billion, is Morocco’s largest employer. It has previously financed the start-up of a technical school in Morocco and is building residence halls for several Moroccan universities.

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