NUI Galway Develops Lasting Relationships with Universities in the Arab World

Monday, 14 June 2010

This week NUI Galway welcomes 40 educators from Jordan and Lebanon for a seven-day bespoke study tour. The study tour is part of a new EU TEMPUS funded project which aims to develop service learning and civic engagement partnerships in Jordan and Lebanon. The EU project entitled the 'Tawasol Project', commenced in January 2010 and will run over three years. The project brings together five universities in Jordan and the Lebanon with four European university partners including NUI Galway, University of Gothenburg in Sweden, University of Plovdiv in Bulgaria and University of Roehampton in London. Following on from the success of the NUI Galway Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) in developing successful learning opportunities within community through service learning, the University was invited to collaborate with the other eight universities and create the Tawasol Project. While in Galway the group of educators will meet with over twenty members of the community who have been involve in service learning partnerships, including COPE Galway, the Gaf Youth Café and the Galway Traveller Movement. They will also meet over twenty NUI Galway lecturers and students who have developed innovative service learning partnerships. They will learn about how postgraduate IT students worked with the Gaf Youth café to help develop a youth centred website and up skilled staff in the use of new technologies. They will also meet with Philosophy students who examined through service leaning the ethical treatment of asylum seekers within the west of Ireland. Speaking at the first Tawasol Project meet in Amman, Jordan earlier this year, Lorraine McIlrath, CKI Coordinator, NUI Galway, said: "Working with universities in such a different cultural context makes our work in Ireland richer and more challenging as we are encouraged to look at the cultural implications of engaging student learning in communities within challenging circumstances. This project will bring together hundreds of students and academics in the next three years for intensive inter-cultural and civic engagement learning opportunities". On Tuesday, 15 June, the Tawasol Website will be launched by the NUI Galway's Deputy President and Registrar, Professor Jim Ward. The website, www.tawasol.org was designed and developed by a Galway based web design animation company, Starlight Solutions, who have used a system of social networking to bring the Tawasol Project members together through group sharing, interacting and engaging.
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