By Kelsey Vickers
The U.S. State Department has given Troy University nearly a half-million dollar grant to create a new master’s degree and foster research in international affairs in the Republic of Georgia.
Sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, the $495,000 grant will be funding a partnership with the Georgia Institute of Public Affairs to help strengthen the research capacity with the institution’s graduate International Affairs Program, as well as helping develop a master’s program in International Development.
“Troy University is uniquely positioned to ensure that this collaborative effort is successful, in part due to our long history of strong international partnerships,” Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. said. “Troy University’s pursuit of international opportunities began when we embarked on our voyage of intentional internationalization more than 20 years ago.”
Jonathan Harrington, a professor of political science and director of the university’s Master of Science in International Relations Program, said he believes the partnership will bring together new pathways of learning for both Georgia and Troy students.
“Our new partnership will provide numerous avenues for Troy students and faculty to interact with and learn from their Georgian colleagues including student exchanges, scholarships, joint publishing opportunities and the creation of new academic programs on both sides of the Atlantic,” he said.
Terry Anderson, a public administration associate professor at Troy who worked extensively with the School of Government’s Master of Public Administration, or GIPA, worked with Harrington to develop the three-year project.
“Georgia has demonstrated its desire to become part of a global society that is progressive, and its leaders clearly know the value of higher education — especially when delivered in concert with American partners,” Anderson said.
“GIPA is located in a part of the world that is perfect for Troy – an emerging democracy, a former Soviet republic, that is on the cutting edge among its neighbors in terms of education in the fields of international affairs and public administration.”
She said she believes this opportunity will help offer an entry point for study abroad courses for both MPA and MSIR students.
Anderson said the main issue with developing this partnership was funding, which is what Harrington also stressed.
“We would like to acknowledge the critical role that the United States Department of State has played in making this partnership possible,” he said. “Their generous grant has made it possible for Troy and GIPA to take their growing relationship to the next level.”
The project will begin immediately, and four GIPA faculty members will be expected to begin a faculty exchange next spring on Troy’s campus. The Troy faculty from the Department of Political Science will conduct research and teach in Georgia as well.