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Updated 10:00 AM November 2, 2009

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WDI, Algerian school partner in English, business management

The William Davidson Institute (WDI) has been awarded a three-year grant by Higher Education for Development (HED) to partner with Mentouri University in Constantine, Algeria, to improve the school's capacity to provide effective teaching, curriculum and research in English and business management.
(Photo courtesy William Davidson Institute)

Using real-world learning and experiences, the partnership will create a career center, develop English language training curricula, and enhance the faculty's ability to teach a modern business management curriculum at the university.

WDI also will implement a collaborative "train the trainer" program also while engaging the private sector to integrate key skills and knowledge that is needed in the workplace.

The three-year project, called RESUME, is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Embassy in Algiers.

"President Obama's 'New Beginning' speech in Cairo this summer promised to mark this century with the aspiration of economic reform and building human capacity across the Arab World," says WDI Development Consulting Services Director Khalid Al-Naif. "RESUME is the first project in Algeria that affirmed the president's words to implementation, and WDI is proud to be a partner in this important initiative."

In that June 4 talk in Egypt, Obama said creating higher education partnerships is critical to improving the outlook in international development.

"On science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create more jobs," he said. "All these things must be done in partnership."

In addition to keeping up with the needs of a growing university population, Mentouri University and other Algerian higher education institutions are struggling with the issue of unemployed graduates. In spite of the large number of unemployed university graduates, private-sector employees report difficulty identifying young Algerians who can demonstrate English language proficiency, basic management and computer skills, and the "soft skills" needed for workplace success such as strong verbal communications, writing, teamwork and problem solving. This partnership aims to assist in all of these areas.

This partnership seeks to respond to those needs by establishing a foundation for targeted faculty development programs, improving English language training and business management curricula, and creating job skills and placement programs that effectively prepare students for professional success.

"The partnership will contribute to building the human and institutional capacity of Mentouri University as well as produce a long-term relationship between U.S. and Algerian higher education institutions," says HED Executive Director Tully Cornick.

The new three-year RESUME project continues WDI's work in Algeria. Beginning in January 2007 the Institute has been involved in the Educating Managers, Promoting Linkages and Opportunities Initiative project, a partnership with Institute of National Commerce and the U.S. State Department's Middle East Partnership Initiative.

WDI created a career center at the Institute of National Commerce (INC), the first in the country. The center has helped more than 3,500 Algerian students to find jobs in Algeria's private and public sectors.

WDI also has organized career fairs at INC for Algerian students, the last one drawing about 6,000 attendees. And the institute recently held a two-day symposium on entrepreneurship in Algiers.

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