Simply put, we’re helping Afghans build their education system in a way that meets the country’s needs.
- Sher Jan Ahmadzai, Director, Center for Afghanistan Studies
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is funding the project. The grant runs through Sept. 2018, in support of a graduate-level hydraulics program at Afghanistan’s Kabul Polytechnic University (KPU).
UNO Center for Afghanistan Studies Director Sher Jan Ahmadzai and UNO International Studies Director Patrick McNamara are the principal investigators on the grant. Both are also currently involved in two similar efforts, in partnership with Afghanistan’s Kabul University and Balkh University.
“Simply put, we’re helping Afghans build their education system in a way that meets the country’s needs,” Ahmadzai said. “UNO’s Center for Afghanistan Studies has been active in Afghanistan for more than 40 years, and we are thrilled to be able to expand on the vital work that we have already been doing with the support of these federal grants.”
This grant will provide new learning material and resources for KPU's Department of Hydraulics and Hydraulic Structures, as well as a needs assessment; curriculum and faculty development; and in-person training.
Junke Guo, associate professor of civil engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the grant’s academic director, said Afghanistan has a significant need for engineers, particularly those with an understanding of hydraulics.
“Though Kabul is Afghanistan’s largest city, our team that recently visited the city observed that it doesn’t have a sewer and water treatment system,” Guo said. “The team was also told that the Government of Afghanistan plans to build 22 dams in the near future to improve the country’s infrastructures for water supply, irrigation, and hydropower. To do this, the government will need many hydraulic engineers. Through this project, we can help KPU and the country meet this national need.”
This effort is part of the USAID Afghanistan University Support and Workforce Development Program. The program’s goal is to improve Afghanistan’s higher education system and train qualified employees to serve the country’s growing economy.
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