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News Archives - 2000

Augsburg's Center for Global Education sponsoring Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Grant trip to Namibia by 11 Minnesota educators

Jun. 21, 2000

A diverse group of 11 Twin Cities elementary- and secondary-school teachers and an Augsburg College faculty member will leave next week for a five-week learning experience in Namibia, under a unique grant program awarded to Augsburg's Center for Global Education.

Augsburg received a $64,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education, through the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad program, for the trip. It is Augsburg's third Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad grant for the Namibia trip in the last five years. Previous trips were sponsored in 1995 and 1997.

The teachers will leave for Namibia on June 29 and return to Minneapolis on August 2. Gretchen Irvine, a professor of education at Augsburg, will accompany the teachers. While there, the teachers will work with Augsburg staff through a program of field trips, meetings with government and community leaders and homestays in a variety of Namibian communities. Homestays will be with families that include a teacher as a parent, and the Minnesota teachers will shadow their teacher at school. Among the topics covered will be the Namibian family structure, how the nation is building its democracy, its education system, environmental issues, and issues concerning the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

From their experiences on the trip, the 11 Minnesota teachers will write curriculum for their own classrooms, focusing on family life, environmental issues and democracy-building, enabling them to bring greater understanding of global and sociological issues to their own classrooms.

Namibia is a relatively new nation in southern Africa, having gained its independence from South Africa in 1990. The small country continues to make a transition to nationhood, while dealing with the legacies of decades of South African apartheid and colonialism.

The Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad program was established by the U.S. Department of Education in the 1960s to offer study-abroad experiences to educators. Approximately 30 grants are given per year. The program provides grants to support overseas projects in training, research, and curriculum development in modern foreign languages and area studies by teachers, students, and faculty engaged in a common endeavor.

Augsburg is one of the few colleges in Minnesota to receive Fulbright-Hays Group grants for international programs, noted Regina McGoff, director of the Center for Global Education.

For more than 20 years, Augsburg's Center for Global Education has been one of the leading providers for cross-cultural educational experiences in the Midwest. The Center operates three college-owned study centers, in Mexico, Nicarauga and Namibia, with full-time staff. It also has faculty based in El Salvador and Guatemala. The Center is unique in that it provides opportunities for people to learn in community-based programs, instead of strictly in higher-education settings abroad, so students learn directly from people from a variety of sectors of life in a country.

The Center for Global Education's programs -- for-credit international study programs and grant programs like the Fulbright-Hays Group project -- integrate rigorous academic work with real-life experiences, enabling students to learn not only from textbooks, but also from the society they study. Programs include family stays, regional travel, community-based living and opportunities for volunteer work and internships.