TROY – A nearly half-million dollar U.S. State Department grant will enable Troy University build a collaborative partnership to create a new master's degree and foster research in international affairs in the Republic of Georgia.
The $495,000 grant, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, will fund a partnership with the Georgia Institute of Public Affairs to augment the institution's graduate International Affairs Program with faculty and student exchange, strengthen its research capacity and collaboratively develop a master's level program in International Development.
“Troy University is uniquely positioned to ensure that this collaborative effort is successful, in part due to our long history of strong international partnerships," said Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr., Chancellor. “Troy University's pursuit of international opportunities began when we embarked on our voyage of intentional internationalization more than 20 years ago."
Political Science faculty believe the partnership will forge new pathways to learning for both Georgian and TROY students.
“Our new partnership will provide numerous avenues for TROY students and faculty to interact with and learn from their Georgian colleagues including student exchanges, scholarships, joint publishing opportunities and the creation of new academic programs on both sides of the Atlantic," said Dr. Jonathan Harrington, a professor of political science and director of the University's Master of Science in International Relations Program.
Dr. Harrington, and Dr. Terry Anderson, a public administration associate professor at TROY who has extensive experience working with GIPA, including authoring a textbook used in its programs and as a visiting faculty member who's taught more than 20 courses in GIPA's School of Government's Master of Public Administration program since 2000, co-developed the three-year project.
“Georgia has demonstrated its desire to become part of a global society that is progressive, and its leaders clearly know the value of higher education -- especially when delivered in concert with American partners," Dr. Anderson said. “GIPA is located in a part of the world that is perfect for Troy—an emerging democracy, a former Soviet republic, that is on the cutting edge among its neighbors in terms of education in the fields of international affairs and public administration."
“I believe this opportunity will create an entry point for future study abroad courses for our students in both our MPA and MSIR students," she said.
Anderson has worked on developing a stronger partnership for more than a decade, but said funding was an issue, a point Harrington also stressed.
“We would like to acknowledge the critical role that the United States Department of State has played in making this partnership possible. Their generous grant has made it possible for TROY and GIPA to take their growing relationship to the next level," he said.
The project begins immediately, and four GIPA faculty members are expected to begin a faculty exchange during the Spring semester on the Troy Campus. TROY faculty from the Department of Political Science will teach and conduct research in Georgia as well.