About 200 students and teachers from Dhi Qar University are the beneficiaries of the new engineering textbooks from the Oregon State University College of Engineering that marked the beginning of an exchange program to enhance higher education. These materials came from Book Wish Foundation and Oxford University Press.
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Oregon State University Donates Textbooks to Iraqis

"More than any other time in recent history, Iraq's destiny is of its own choosing. The youth of (Iraq) did not seek, nor did they provoke, strict limitations on what they are able to achieve. They did not expect, nor did they invite, a confrontation with fundamentalism. Yet, the true measure of a people's strength is how they rise to master those moments when they do arrive. This is a time for Iraqi heroes."

So stated Joshua Mater, president of the Michael Scott Mater Foundation, as he presented Chancellor Ali Ismael Obeidi al-Snafi of Dhi Qar University with textbooks worth $20,000 as well as English-as-a-second-language materials from the Book Wish Foundation and Oxford University Press.

About 200 students and teachers from Dhi Qar University are the beneficiaries of the new engineering textbooks from the Oregon State University College of Engineering that marked the beginning of an exchange program to enhance higher education.

The textbook exchange was a collaboration of multiple entities. In addition to OSU and Dhi Qar University, it also included the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the U.S. State Department, the Book Wish Foundation, Honeywell Technology Solutions, and the 1st Cavalry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team from Fort Hood, Texas, as well as officials at Contingency Operations Base Adder and 402nd AFSB leadership at Joint Base Balad, both in Iraq.

Mater credited Army Col. Robert P. Sullivan, 402nd Army Field Support Brigade commander, and Army Lt. Col. Joe Hart, commander of the brigade's 2nd Battalion, with facilitating the donation.

The brigade is part of the Army Sustainment Command's global logistics support network. Sullivan requested the support of leadership and approved the manpower to execute the mission, and many members of the 2nd Battalion worked in various capacities to facilitate the project.

Mater is the 402nd AFSB's operations officer, and Quispe is the redistribution property accountability team administrator for the brigade's 2nd Battalion logistics function. Both work for Honeywell Technology Solutions.

The Michael Scott Mater Foundation is a nonprofit group that aims to provide better education for poor students and communities around the world by providing education, life skills, equal rights, values and a caring environment, according to the foundation's Web site.

With the Iraq project, the foundation worked with representatives of both universities to develop a relationship that will benefit both through cooperative learning, Mater said. The primary initiatives are to develop an exchange program that will target engineering and English language majors at the master's degree level and develop professional training seminars focused on Iraqi city planners, engineers and public servants, he added.

Mater, an OSU graduate and former Army captain who spent eight months helping to rebuild Iraq, drew on his alma mater to continue his work.

"This exchange program represents a new trend in partnering between American and Iraqi universities," Ali, the chancellor, said.

Where traditional relationships usually rely on national government intervention, this program will bring the two university leaders together at Oregon State in early 2009 to discuss curriculum structuring and formalize an agreement that will enable students from Dhi Qar University to study at OSU, Mater said.

"We are bound together by centuries of commitments by those who came before us to a love of learning, an abiding search for truths and a sense of duty to find solutions for the problems of humanity," wrote OSU President Ed Ray.


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