FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The University of Arkansas has signed a cooperative agreement with the University of Koya in Koya, Kurdistan Region, Iraq. It is the fifth agreement the U of A has signed with an Iraqi university in the past year.
Wali M. Hamad, president of the University of Koya, signed the agreement during a visit to the U of A campus earlier this week. He was accompanied by Dilan M. Rostam, vice president for science affairs, and Shwan K. Rachid, dean of the university’s College of Science and Health.
“We hope to make a functional, active memorandum of understanding with the University of Arkansas, so our students and faculty can enjoy a fruitful scientific and educational collaboration,” Rostam said.
Similar to the previous memorandums of understanding, the agreement with the University of Koya calls for the universities to create programs for the exchange of academic, research and other educational materials. It also encourages faculty members and students from each university to visit the other institution for the purpose of lecturing, conducting research or developing academic or administrative skills.
Rostam said they hope to develop strong ties specifically with the Spring International Language Center and the clinical psychology program at the U of A.
The University of Koya is one of the few universities in Iraq that requires its students to be proficient in English. The university hopes to collaborate with Spring International to open an English language preparatory center in Koya that would be open to students of all Iraqi universities.
Due to the influx of refugees in the country and the traumas caused to segments of the population as a result of the terrorist acts of ISIS, the Iraqi university is highly interested in working with the U of A’s clinical psychology department to help address the needs of those affected by these life-changing events.
Additionally, the University of Koya plans to join forces with several U of A departments to advance research interests and increase the visibility of both universities in scientific journals.
The cooperative agreement stemmed from a program directed by the Graduate School and International Education and the graduate program in cell and molecular biology. The program is aimed at growing the population of sponsored students at the U of A. The effort in Iraq has been shepherded by Adnan Al-Rubaye, associate director of cell and molecular biology and instructor of biological sciences, and Gloria Flores Passmore, director of Sponsored Student Programs.
A total of 34 Iraqi students were enrolled at the U of A in the spring 2015 semester. Another 14 were enrolled at the Spring International Language Center and will enroll at the U of A once they complete English proficiency requirements.
The University of Koya, which was founded in 2003 and has an enrollment of 5,000 students, has been working toward an agreement with the U of A for nearly 16 months.