Leaders from the American University of Kuwait traveled to Dartmouth this week to meet with President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 and reaffirm their commitment to advancing liberal arts education in the Persian Gulf region and continuing cross-cultural collaborations between faculty, students, and staff at both institutions.
President Hanlon and AUK President Rawda Awwad signed a memorandum of understanding in a ceremony attended by representatives from both institutions Wednesday, extending the 20-year Dartmouth-AUK Program for another five years.
“I’m delighted to see our relationship with AUK continue and grow. There are so many benefits to be drawn from this partnership, both for our students and our faculty, and any opportunity for our respective institutions to tap into each other’s talent is a win for us both,” Hanlon said.
“Over the years, our relationship has grown stronger and more meaningful,” said Awwad. “Through exchanges of faculty, students, and ideas, we have been able to broaden our perspectives and deepen our understanding of the world around us. This partnership has enriched the academic and cultural experiences of all involved and has opened doors to countless opportunities.”
Sheikha Dana Nasser Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, the founder and chair of the board of trustees of AUK, got as far as New York but was unable to attend the ceremony because of a winter storm that hit New England.
Al Sabah, who founded AUK as the first co-educational liberal arts institution in the region, celebrated the collaboration in a statement, saying, “The signing of this MOU signifies our shared dedication to continuing this partnership for many years to come. It is a testament to our mutual commitment to fostering academic excellence and promoting cultural understanding. We look forward to the many more fruitful collaborations that will arise from this partnership.”
Al Sabah received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Dartmouth at commencement 2017 for her pioneering work.
Also attending the ceremony from AUK was Amal Al-Binali, executive vice president of the university.
Hanlon and Awwad both acknowledged Dale Eickelman ’64, the Ralph and Richard Lazarus Professor of Anthropology and Human Relations emeritus, as the driving force in establishing the partnership. “The document we are signing today strengthens the strong bonds we’ve forged over the last two decades. It paves the way for new initiatives,” said Eickelman.
In the last two decades, Dartmouth and AUK faculty and students have traveled between campuses to participate in cross-cultural internships, fellowships, and research. More recently, Dartmouth and AUK have also developed a for-credit academic exchange to complement the existing noncredit, experiential learning internship, says Eickelman.
Also in attendance from Dartmouth were Professor of Religion Christopher MacEvitt, the chair of the Middle Eastern Studies Program; Peter Golder, professor of marketing at the Tuck School of Business; and Kerry Laufer, deputy director of the Dartmouth-AUK Program.
To illustrate the vital collaboration between the institutions, Eickelman noted that, over spring term, Dartmouth Middle Eastern Studies major Brandon Mioduszewski ’25 will travel to Kuwait, where he will serve as a student coordinator for an undergraduate internship program with AUK’s International Relations Department. In addition, four interns from AUK will be at Dartmouth this summer, working with Tuck Executive Education, the Thayer School of Engineering, and the Dartmouth Center for Social Impact.