Dartmouth Forms New Relationship with American University in Kosovo

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Dartmouth recently signed an agreement with American University in Kosovo, the only private, nonprofit university in Kosovo teaching entirely in the English language. The agreement provides opportunities for faculty collaboration and student exchange and enables Dartmouth to assist American University in Kosovo on matters associated with U.S. accreditation and curriculum development.

American University in Kosovo Chris Hall and Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim shaking hands

President of the American University in Kosovo Chris Hall and Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim after the two institutions signed a letter of agreement on October 29. (photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)

Located in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital city, the university was founded in 2002 with donations by the people of Kosovo and the support of its government. “We aspire to the same high standards of liberal education that Dartmouth stands for,” says American University in Kosovo President Chris Hall. “We can learn much from Dartmouth, and Kosovo has much to offer as a place to study the dynamics of cultural diversity, conflict, peace-building, and national development.”

Once part of the Ottoman empire, and earlier the Roman and Byzantine empires, Kosovo endured upheaval and violence during the 20th century, including the Balkan Wars, the formation and dissolution of Yugoslavia, and ethnic conflicts between Serbians and Albanians in the 1990s. The Republic of Kosovo declared its sovereignty in 2008 and today 71 of the 192 countries in the United Nations General Assembly recognize its independence.

Dartmouth’s involvement with the region began in 1999, when Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) faculty provided critical care to the war-torn area and opportunities for medical students to participate in exchange programs. James Strickler ’50, DMS ’51, Professor of Medicine and of Community and Family Medicine and Dean of DMS, Emeritus, spearheaded this work.

“This agreement grew out of important work with Dartmouth Medical School,” says Provost Carol Folt. “Our new relationship with American University in Kosovo broadens that work to include the commitment to liberal education for which Dartmouth is known around the world. We look forward to discovering new horizons with our colleagues in Pristina.”

Pristina, Kosovo city scape

Located in the northeastern part of the country, near the Goljak Mountains, Pristina is Kosovo’s capital and largest city, with about 500,000 people. (photo courtesy of iStockphoto)

Recently, researchers at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (TDI) began working with Kosovo’s doctors to measure variations in the health care system. “Kosovo desperately needs the kinds of studies of the health-care system that TDI does,” said Strickler in a recent article in Dartmouth Medicine.

During the past 10 years, 26 students from Kosovo have visited Dartmouth, and 19 DMS students have visited Pristina and other regional medical centers. In May of 2010, the Chair of the DMS Department of Community and Family Medicine, Michael Zubkoff, who also serves as Professor of Economics and Management at the Tuck School of Business and a professor at TDI, was named a Trustee of American University in Kosovo.

According to the agreement, signed October 29 by the two institutions, opportunities for collaboration include “faculty exchange and mentoring programs; consultation on academic and administrative matters; internships” and “scholarly activities that will advance understanding of liberal arts, culture, business education, and medicine, particularly as it relates to the Balkans.”

“Kosovo is in the process of becoming,” says Laurel Stavis, Executive Director of the Dartmouth College-American University of Kuwait Project, who will coordinate the new collaboration. “Top officials from the European Union, NATO, the United Nations, USAID, and other governmental and non-governmental organizations are well-established there. For anyone interested in the question, ‘How does a nation become a nation?,’ I can’t think of a more fascinating place to be.”

Adds Kenneth Yalowitz, Director of Dartmouth’s Dickey Center for International Understanding, “The development of this university is key to the development of Kosovo as a nation.”

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