Dartmouth Participates in $30 Million USAID Kosovo Program


Dartmouth and three other universities will participate in a U.S. Agency for International Development-funded project to train a new generation of Kosovar leaders to drive significant change in priority economic, political, and social areas.

The “Newborn” monument in Prishtina, Kosovo’s capital, was unveiled in 2008 when the nation—Europe’s youngest democracy—declared its independence. The USAID grant will support ongoing work in Kosovo in the areas of economic, political, and social development. (Photo by Arild Vågen)

The Transformational Leadership Scholarships and Partnerships Program will fund scholarships for a new generation of Kosovars to pursue advanced degrees in the U.S. focused on economic, political, and social development. The project will also support faculty collaborations in a number of fields designed to build capacity at universities in Kosovo.

The program builds on Dartmouth’s links to Kosovo dating back to 1999, which include initiatives in curriculum design, gender research, collaborative scholarship on human rights, medical education and exchange, and entrepreneurship.

The five-year, $30 million grant is administered through World Learning, an international nonprofit organization that supports education, exchange, and development programs in more than 60 countries.

“Dartmouth is one of our closest partners in international development,” said Donald Steinberg, president and CEO of World Learning, while speaking on February 28 at the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, when the grant was announced.

World Learning noted that USAID commended the strong proposal submitted by the consortium of Dartmouth, Arizona State University, Indiana University, and the University of Minnesota. The program partners will collaborate with the Government of Kosovo, the University of Prishtina, and other higher education institutions in Kosovo.

“This comprehensive program will give us an opportunity to expand on the work we have been doing with colleagues in Kosovo for the past 15 years,” says Laurel Stavis, assistant provost for international initiatives. “We look forward to working with our partner universities in the United States, with World Learning and USAID, and with our many friends in Kosovo on this exciting new program.”

Stavis was recently in Kosovo with faculty members from the Gender Research Institute at Dartmouth (GRID) and a representative of the Dickey Center to develop their ongoing collaboration with the University of Prishtina’s Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities and to find new opportunities for undergraduate internships.

“There is a large and growing network of Kosovars who have received training at Dartmouth, participated in coursework, and enhanced their professional capabilities through visiting fellowships and joint research collaborations,” Stavis says.

The Transformational Leadership Scholarships and Partnerships Program will provide scholarships for Kosovars to pursue at least 185 master’s degrees and 160 professional certificates at U.S. universities. When alumni return to Kosovo they will be placed in key institutions, especially in the public sector, where they can use their new knowledge and skills to support Kosovo’s economic, scholarly, and political development.

World Learning, Dartmouth, and the other program partners will build the capacity of higher education institutions in Kosovo to prepare graduates to meet the needs of the growing economy and the developing state, Steinberg said, ensuring that the leadership training process is both domestic and sustainable. The grant calls for particular emphasis on supporting promising Kosovars from underserved and disadvantaged populations.

Bill Platt