Uni­ver­sity forms part­ner­ship with the Desh­pande Foundation

Boston, Mass. — Begin­ning in the spring semester of 2009, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity stu­dents in the Inter­na­tional Affairs and Human Ser­vices pro­grams will have the chance to par­tic­i­pate in a ground-​​breaking global studies pro­gram in India.

For the first time, stu­dents involved in the Global Part­ner­ship for Activism and Cross-​​Cultural Training (Global PACT) and Dia­logue of Civ­i­liza­tions pro­grams will have the oppor­tu­nity to study and work in India. The new Global PACT India Dia­logue is the result of a new part­ner­ship between the uni­ver­sity and the Desh­pande Foun­da­tion, one of the leading phil­an­thropic foun­da­tions in Mass­a­chu­setts and India in the areas of inno­va­tion, entre­pre­neur­ship and inter­na­tional development.

This part­ner­ship responds to a growing interest among stu­dents seeking non-​​traditional inter­na­tional career paths and and the university’s interest in forging and main­taining impor­tant links with India. The novel pro­gram is made pos­sible through the gen­erous efforts of the Desh­pande Foundation’s Social Entre­pre­neur­ship Sand Box in India.

North­eastern University’s ‘global vision’ asks fac­ulty and stu­dents to be fully engaged with the world com­mu­nity, an engage­ment that gives their efforts meaning, and has a pos­i­tive impact on the com­mu­ni­ties with which they engage. We can do this by calling upon the knowl­edge, pas­sion, and ener­gies of stu­dents and fac­ulty alike as pos­i­tive forces for change in our local com­mu­nity and global society,” said Denis Sul­livan, director of the Inter­na­tional Affairs pro­gram, director of the Middle East Center for Peace, Cul­ture, and Devel­op­ment, and pro­fessor of polit­ical science.

Our university’s mis­sion and vision will be advanced espe­cially when we join forces and par­tic­i­pate with dynamic part­ners like the Desh­pande Foun­da­tion,” he said. “North­eastern University’s col­lab­o­ra­tions with part­ners in gov­ern­ment, industry, the arts, inno­va­tors and pri­vate sector change agents strive to con­tribute to eco­nomic devel­op­ment and enhance soci­etal well-​​being.”

Starting in the spring, Inter­na­tional Affairs and Human Ser­vices stu­dents involved in the new pro­gram will sign up for their oth­er­wise normal four-​​class course load. But then they will form a unique group — a cohort of stu­dents who will work together both on campus in Boston as well as in Hubli, Kar­nataka state in south-​​western India. This unique pilot pro­gram is known as the Global PACT India Dialogue.

Global PACT India will be led by Denise Horn, assis­tant pro­fessor of Inter­na­tional Affairs, and Lori Gar­dinier, director of the Human Ser­vices Pro­gram. The Desh­pande Foun­da­tion will pro­vide addi­tional funding for the new pro­gram as well as logis­tical assis­tance including Non-​​Governmental Orga­ni­za­tion (NGO) site visits, stu­dent housing, and will recruit Indian stu­dents to par­tic­i­pate in the training.

Stu­dents will first take two inten­sive courses at the North­eastern Uni­ver­sity campus in Jan­uary and Feb­ruary. Stu­dents will then travel to Hubli in March, and remain there for up to two months. In India, they will take two more courses, to round out their four-​​course load in spring semester. The third course is a three-​​week inten­sive training pro­gram, led by Global PACT trainers, super­vised by Dr. Horn. Upon suc­cessful com­ple­tion of this training, stu­dents will take a fourth course, which involves an intern­ship with local NGOs, super­vised by Dr. Gar­dinier. Stu­dents will stay in Hubli until the end of the semester with the option to remain in co-​​op or intern posi­tions. The four courses include:

· Inter­na­tional Human Ser­vices: In this inten­sive course stu­dents will explore struc­tural and orga­ni­za­tional responses to human rights and com­mu­nity need. Using a com­par­a­tive approach, stu­dents will iden­tify how cul­ture influ­ences orga­ni­za­tional design and ser­vice delivery. This course will also examine how orga­ni­za­tions develop coor­di­nated com­mu­nity responses in col­lab­o­ra­tion with gov­ern­ment enti­ties and other orga­ni­za­tions. Stu­dents will be placed in service-​​learning sites in Boston working with recently-​​immigrated populations.

· Transna­tional Activism and Global Civil Society: This course exam­ines transna­tional advo­cacy and activism from the­o­ret­ical and prac­tical per­spec­tives. Stu­dents will explore the growing lit­er­a­ture of transna­tional activism with a focus on the impact of such move­ments upon global and local civil society and issues of democ­ra­ti­za­tion and devel­op­ment. Stu­dents will research local and global prob­lems and orga­nize a com­mu­nity devel­op­ment project over the course of the semester to address these issues.

· Global PACT India: Stu­dents will work with their Indian peers at a local NGO to create com­mu­nity devel­op­ment pro­grams around the theme of poverty, devel­op­ment, and tech­nology. Over three weeks of inten­sive training with experts in the field, stu­dents will learn the key skills of com­mu­nity devel­op­ment work, including action research, lead­er­ship skills, orga­ni­za­tional devel­op­ment, and cross-​​cultural communication.

· Intern­ship: Stu­dents will stay on through the remainder of the spring 2009 semester to work as interns in local NGOs.

Global PACT India Dia­logue is the first of North­eastern University’s semester-​​long Global PACT and Dia­logue of Civ­i­liza­tions pro­grams. North­eastern Uni­ver­sity has also formed a part­ner­ship with Casa de las Américas, a pres­ti­gious academy of the arts and lit­er­a­ture in Cuba. The uni­ver­sity will send as many as 20 stu­dents to the country begin­ning in Jan­uary to study its rich cul­tural unique­ness and become acquainted with its dis­tinct history.

About the Dia­logue of Civ­i­liza­tions Program

The Dia­logue of Civ­i­liza­tions Pro­gram is a series of global stu­dent exchanges between stu­dents at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity and stu­dents around the world. The pro­gram con­nects North­eastern stu­dents with their peers in dif­ferent national, cul­tural, polit­ical, and social envi­ron­ments. The pro­gram pro­vides stu­dents a global expe­ri­ence that builds upon and enhances their aca­d­emic studies and training.

About Global PACT

Global PACT is a unique peer-​​to-​​peer training pro­gram for stu­dents inter­ested in solving real com­mu­nity issues in prac­tical ways. The pro­gram is a facet of the Dia­logue of Civ­i­liza­tions Pro­gram and enables stu­dents to iden­tify root causes of larger com­mu­nity prob­lems, create viable solu­tions, and estab­lish grass­roots organizations.

For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact Samantha Fodrowski at 617–373-5427 or at s.​fodrowski@​neu.​edu.

About North­eastern

Founded in 1898, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity is a pri­vate research uni­ver­sity located in the heart of Boston. North­eastern is a leader in inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research, urban engage­ment, and the inte­gra­tion of class­room learning with real-​​world expe­ri­ence. The university’s dis­tinc­tive coop­er­a­tive edu­ca­tion pro­gram, where stu­dents alter­nate semes­ters of full-​​time study with semes­ters of paid work in fields rel­e­vant to their pro­fes­sional inter­ests and major, is one of the largest and most inno­v­a­tive in the world. The Uni­ver­sity offers a com­pre­hen­sive range of under­grad­uate and grad­uate pro­grams leading to degrees through the doc­torate in six under­grad­uate col­leges, eight grad­uate schools, and two part-​​time divi­sions. For more infor­ma­tion, please visit www​.north​eastern​.edu.