May 7, 2007
Photos: Top, left - (from left) Shirley Schermer, Joe Artz and Edi Shukriu, a 2005 participant in the University of Iowa International Writing Program, visit an historic site in Prizren, Kosovo. Bottom, right - (seated, from left) Suzana Manxhuka-Kërliu, Lawrence Corwin (U.S. Office Pristina), Shirley Schermer, Enver Hasani, Joe Artz and Edi Shukriu, participate in the signing ceremony at University of Prishtina.
UI Creates Partnership With University Of Prishtina In Kosovo
Archaeologists from the University of Iowa and leaders from the University of Prishtina (UP) in Kosovo have signed a three-year memorandum of understanding to foster educational training and research cooperation between the two institutions, as well as a memorandum of agreement to pursue archaeological projects. The projects will involve geographic information systems (GIS) and human osteology, the scientific study of bones.
Both institutions have agreed to joint activities, including the exchange of invitations to scholars for lectures and visits, as well as participation in conferences, symposia and seminars. The memorandum also will encourage student and faculty exchanges for study and research. In addition, the universities will share information in fields of mutual interest and will provide practical training in selected fields of study.
The documents were signed during a two-week trip in April to Kosovo by archaeologists Joe Alan Artz and Shirley Schermer. Artz and Schermer are program directors in the Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA), a University of Iowa research unit. In addition to meeting with Rector Enver Hasani to complete the signing of the agreements, Artz and Schermer met with faculty and students in the departments of history and anatomy and the Institute of History at the University of Prishtina. They also met with archaeologists, forensic anthropologists and others from several agencies and offices of the United Nations and the Kosovo government, as well as the Office of the U.S. Consul.
Mary Jo Small Fellowships, International Programs Travel Grants and the Office of the Vice President for Research funded the two archaeologists' trip.
"Our discussions identified several areas where useful collaboration between the two universities might be pursued," Schermer said. "The contacts we made are a firm foundation from which specific collaborative enterprises can be pursued, to the benefit of both universities, and to the advancement of the sciences and humanities in Kosovo."
As part of the agreement, OSA staff would like to explore the opportunity to conduct an archaeological field school for both UI and UP students at Ulpiana, an important urban center in Roman times. A major emphasis of the fieldwork would be the use of remote sensing technology, including ground-penetrating radar, to map the ancient walls and foundations buried beneath farmlands.
"This new agreement opens up many doors for future collaboration," said Diana Davies, director of International Programs. "We might pursue options to develop research or study programs in conjunction with our Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. We might seek ways of sharing expertise in the health sciences. We might utilize long-distance technology to bring students from both institutions together in a virtual classroom setting. With each new linkage agreement, the university gains meaningful connections to the rest of the world."
Artz and Schermer also met with Suzanne Manxhuka-Kërliu, UP's prorector for International Cooperation, a counterpart to UI's International Programs.
"We were impressed by the optimism and spirit of the people of Kosovo, and by the high and sincere regard in which they hold the United States," Artz said. "This is an exciting time for Kosovo as it emerges from the shadow of a tragic war. We are proud to have represented our university in an initiative that we hope will provide opportunities for the people of Kosovo as they strive toward independence and integration into the European community."
Edi Shukriu, professor of history at UP and a 2005 participant in the UI International Writing Program, helped facilitate meetings and field tours for Artz and Schermer while the two were in Kosovo. Shukriu is the UI's primary contact at the UP. Stephen Lensink, interim director of OSA, will serve as the UP's primary UI contact.
Artz noted that the trip would lead to new developments that benefit both Iowans and residents of Kosovo.
"Our trip to Kosovo is an excellent example of how programs developed at the University of Iowa, primarily for Iowans, can be extended to emerging democracies like Kosovo, who need the kinds of expertise that an organization like OSA can provide," Artz said.
The mission of the Office of the State Archaeologist is to develop, disseminate and preserve knowledge of Iowa's human past through archaeological research, scientific discovery, public stewardship, service and education.
International Programs enables UI students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity and give all university constituents access to vital international knowledge. For more information, visit http://intl-programs.uiowa.edu/ or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the UI Office of the Provost.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.