UW to Make Partnership With Iraqi University

by Erin Banco, The Daily Cardinal, February 18, 2009

UW-Madison is in the process of developing a relationship and future collaboration Tikrit University in Iraq.

UW-Madison officials and representatives from an Iraqi university took the first step in developing a relationship for the future in a teleconference phone call Feb. 13.

According to Cynthia Williams, development program manager for the UW-Madison Division of International Studies, several faculty members from campus participated in the call. Gilles Bousquet, dean of the Division of International Studies, lead the discussion with U.S. Embassy officials from the Salah ad Din Provincial Reconstruction Team in Iraq, who will help facilitate UW-Madison’s relationship with Tikrit University.

Tikrit University, founded in 1987, is one of the largest universities in Iraq with over 12,000 students.

“We believe that this is an exciting opportunity for both of our institutions,” Bousquet said in a statement. “Education will play a key role in rebuilding Iraq, and UW-Madison has a strong tradition of international service and collaboration.”

Williams said officials who participated in the phone call explored areas the universities could collaborate on in the future. “We asked what the needs were in Tikrit and what were some of the things we might have expertise in that would be helpful to them,” she said.

Williams said the next step in establishing the relationship is planning a teleconference between Chancellor Biddy Martin and Maher Saleh Allawi, president of Tikrit University, in the upcoming weeks. Allawi first contacted Martin about the partnership in late January. According to Williams, there is no set timeline for the development of the relationship.