Friday, December 10, 2010

UIS partners with the Illinois National Guard to teach troops about Afghanistan

The University of Illinois Springfield has partnered with the Illinois National Guard to educate troops being deployed to Afghanistan. They discussed the country’s history, culture, public health needs, and economic structure among other topics during a recent series of classes.

“To be able to assist with those types of things is an incredible boost to the war effort and to the education of our soldiers,” said Col. Gary Schmitt of the Illinois National Guard.

The Guard approached UIS, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the City of Springfield and Sangamon County about forming a partnership. The result was a three-day training session for about 40 soldiers called “Infrastructure 101”.

The first phase was hosted by UIS at the Public Affairs Center on Dec. 10, 2010. UIS faculty members Adriana Crocker, Kathy DeBarr, Michael Lane, Shahram Heshmat, Don O’Neal and Ali Nizamuddin shared their knowledge of the country with the troops.

“We have faculty with a broad range of interests and some of our faculty with experience, either growing up in the region or having traveled extensively in the region,” said Pinky Wassenberg, dean of the College of Public Affairs & Administration.

The idea behind the partnership is that it will continue once the troops are deployed to Afghanistan. The troops will be able to phone or email the professors as consultants to questions that may occur in the field.

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