Webster University’s core values include the idea of being a global citizen through education locally, nationally and internationally. Under this same category, the university offers international opportunities at one of its many international campuses or partner schools.
Webster took another step toward the idea of being a global citizen through the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Central Asian country of Uzbekistan at the end of September.
“I would say this absolutely aligns with our mission and our values,” Provost Julian Schuster said. “We are going to have a global impact for the next century.”
Webster president Elizabeth Stroble attended the 2017 U.S. – Uzbekistan Business Forum in New York City in late September. Webster was the only U.S. university invited to attend the event. At the forum, Stroble and Uzbek president Shavkat Mirziyoyev announced the agreement between Webster University and the Uzbek Ministry of Higher Education.
“This is a significant milestone in the history of our university,” Stroble said. “We are committed to pursuing the many opportunities to advance a long-term partnership that will yield multiple benefits for our academic communities and our countries.”
Provost Julian Schuster said a memorandum of understanding is defined as a non-binding agreement between two or more parties. The MOU outlines the details of the agreement, including the requirements and responsibilities of those involved.
Uzbekistan saw a change in leadership and government over the last decade. With the change in government came educational reform. The Uzbek Ministry of Higher Education created the Development Strategy for 2017 to 2021 as part of the reform. This includes the MOU between Webster and Uzbekistan.
Previously, Webster signed a MOU with the Tashkent University of Information Technologies in Uzbekistan, but the agreement expired after five years.
Schuster said the Uzbek Ministry of Higher Education approached Webster and asked for their assistance in providing expertise and knowledge to reform higher and secondary education. The recent signing of the MOU with the Ministry of Higher Education is an extension of the previous agreement.
The goal of the new MOU is to establish a Webster presence throughout the entire country’s education system. Webster is the first American university with a presence in Uzbekistan.
“Establishing a Webster presence [in Uzbekistan] implies that we might offer our programs over there, that we might send our professors over there, and that we also will engage in the active exchange of materials, faculty and students with our Uzbek friends,” Schuster said.
Schuster said he anticipates the agreement to begin as soon as possible by sending Webster academic administrators to Uzbekistan to review their needs as well as how they can assist our science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.
The intent is to have Webster programs ready to offer by September 2018. Schuster said their current needs appear to be in pre-school and early childhood education, after a meeting with Webster’s School of Education.
“The important thing is to see, to match, what they need with what we have and vice versa,” Schuster said. “We have certain needs and they have the potential to meet our needs. That is the essence of every collaboration, you give something and you receive something and vice versa.”