$1 million goes to democratic education effort

BOWLING GREEN, O.—The International Democratic Education Institute at Bowling Green State University has received $1,060,000 from the Higher Education Development program office of the U.S. Agency for International Development to conduct the Civic Education Partnership Initiative in Lebanon and Morocco.

Dr. Alden Craddock, an assistant professor in the School of Teaching and Learning who directs the institute, and Dr. Awad Ibrahim, an associate professor in the School of Leadership and Policy Studies, both in the College of Education and Human Development, will lead the effort to assist Lebanese and Moroccan educators in developing democratic citizenship curricula for schools and universities in both countries.

The IDEI-led partners include the Lebanese American University and Lebanese Center for Civic Education in Lebanon, the Hassan II University and Moroccan Center for Civic Education in Morocco, and the Center for Civic Education in Calabasas, Calif. The organizations will work together to advance democratic citizenship education policy and practice in Lebanon and Morocco based on the successful model IDEI has used with previous partnerships in Poland, South Africa and Ukraine.

“Being awarded this grant is really a testament to the success of our institute's efforts in our other partnerships,” Craddock said. “I believe our success results from the fact that we don't tell our partners what to do or simply translate our materials for them. Instead, we work together to provide them with an understanding of our experience, both good and bad, and trust them to choose what they think will work in their context.”

Activities will begin immediately with travel to the region to begin planning for the three-year project. Within a year's time, educators from both Lebanon and Morocco will come to BGSU to participate in an intensive curriculum development seminar and to work with teachers in the local community. Other program activities will include developing teacher education courses and conducting a series of educational workshops in Lebanon and Morocco.

According to Craddock, the partnership has benefits for all. “While these programs are technically done to help others, we've found that all parties learn a great deal and that our understanding of democracy and democratic citizenship grows with each experience.”

For additional information about IDEI, see http://www.bgsu.edu/idei/.

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(Posted November 27, 2006 )