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Virtual International Centers Established on Four Continents

Initiative Aims to Strengthen Global Partnerships

By Christine Dunlap

Provost Ahmed Abdelal recently announced the establishment of six virtual international centers at UMass Lowell. The aim of these centers is to strengthen and coordinate ongoing international partnerships as well as to develop new education and research partnerships in areas of the world that pose strategically important opportunities.

The centers will involve faculty and students from across disciplines and will seek interdisciplinary initiatives. The University will also continue to support efforts by individual faculty members around the globe.

The six virtual centers are:

  • Center for Irish Partnerships
  • Center for Asian Partnerships, including China, India and Cambodia
  • Center for Latin and South American Partnerships
  • Center for African Partnerships that includes South Africa and Ghana
  • Center for Middle East Partnerships
  • Center for Hellenic Partnerships

Each of these centers is being run by faculty members who are leading the University’s international efforts with partner institutions.

Abdelal notes that there are several reasons to pursue international partnerships. First, he says, they will improve the quality of the education provided to UMass Lowell students.  In today’s quickly shrinking world, a global perspective will help graduates have greater career success, giving them the multi-cultural understanding often required.  Also, a better understanding of other countries and cultures enriches our students’ education overall and helps make them global citizens.

Second, the international centers will strengthen research efforts by increasing the breadth and depth of collaborations with international universities, research centers and firms. By nurturing research relationships around the world, the campus increases the chances that it will innovate more efficiently and more effectively and perhaps in ways not otherwise imagined.

Third, these centers will enhance economic development efforts. By serving as a catalyst that connects companies and business leaders in the region and around the world, the University becomes an even more effective economic engine for the region.  UMass Lowell can help to strengthen industry in its region by helping it become more global.

Finally, international collaboration contributes to world harmony. Institutions of higher education are able to foster better international communication and understanding through collaboration.