Northeastern University Global Dialogue Program to Expand to India

September 2, 2008

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.northeastern.edu.

 

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

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