Muscat, Oman—March 28, 2011 A group of U.S. university and college presidents and vice presidents are visiting Oman this week as part of a special “Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad” program focusing on higher education in the United States and the Arab world.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by AMIDEAST, the “Higher Education in Transition” program begins with a five-day visit to Oman, followed by seven days in Jordan. It aims to provide participants with an opportunity to discuss best practices and exchange experiences with their counterparts in both countries and to explore opportunities for future program development in the region with stakeholders on their respective campuses.
As the program begins in Oman, the American educators will participate in daily seminars at colleges and universities in the Sultanate, where they will have opportunities to join higher education representatives in Oman to discuss a variety of topics of interest to both countries, including “Accreditation and Quality Assurance,” “Internationalization of Higher Education,” “Strategic Planning,” and “Linking Higher Education to Employment.”
“AMIDEAST is pleased to participate in this timely program that builds on President Obama’s call for increased educational exchange,” said Sarah Jackson, AMIDEAST/Oman Country Director. “This initiative is enabling American educators to learn about Oman’s significant progress in higher education development and we are optimistic that it will result in linkages that enhance educational opportunities in the Sultanate as well as the United States.”
Speaking of the visit of the Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad group, the U.S. Ambassador to Oman, Dr. Richard J. Schmierer, said, "The embassy is pleased to support efforts to foster linkages between institutions of higher education in the United States and Oman and to promote the ongoing development of educational exchange and training opportunities for U.S. and Omani students, faculty and staff. A quality system of higher education is essential for any nation wishing to secure a prosperous future for its citizens. We are gratified to see our growing partnership with Oman in this field and we thank the members of the Fulbright-Hays delegation and AMIDEAST for their interest, time and efforts in helping to build this key relationship.”
With a wide representation of universities and colleges in the United States, ranging from state universities in California to a community college in Maryland, the visiting group aims to explore partnerships that enable the institutions to promote cultural exchange, joint learning, research and service projects, and reciprocal opportunities. The members of the delegation and their U.S. institutions include: Dr. Diane Harrison, President, California State University Monterey Bay; Dr. Mildred Garcia, President, California State University Dominguez Hills; Dr. Kathryn Barbour, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Chesapeake College (Maryland); Dr. Michael Lane, President, Emporia State University (Kansas); Dr. Jeffery Armstrong, President, Muscatine Community College (Iowa); Dr. Donald Betz, President, Northeastern State University (Oklahoma); and Dr. Michele Wheatly, Provost, West Virginia University. The group is accompanied by the Director of International Programs at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and by AMIDEAST’s Director of Study Abroad and Outreach.