The university can expect exchange students from Botswana in the near future, as a result of an ongoing collaboration with the University of Botswana.
SIU signed an agreement with the University of Botswana at the beginning of March to allow the two universities to share resources. The agreement allows the University of Botswana to be a part of about 70 different universities from 27 countries that have active exchange programs with the university.
The five-year deal signed between Chancellor Rita Cheng and University of Botswana Professor John Kiggundu allows the schools to share educational, cultural and research opportunities, Cheng said.
Yi Lee, partnership coordinator of International Development, said the agreement is a strategic move because it allows SIUC to increase its footprint in the world and increases the number of agreements with universities in Africa.
He said the program allows the university to stay focused on its mission of fostering learning opportunities for domestic and exchange students.
Cheng said she is happy with the agreement.
The issue of international relations is important to SIUC students, she said, and allows them the opportunity to learn more about other cultures. She said offering exchange programs helps provide knowledge, which is part of SIUC’s overall mission.
Cheng said she plans to continue expanding the student-exchange programs in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
The agreement with the University of Botswana was partly because of Mark Schultz, a law professor at SIUC.
Schultz had traveled to the Botswana university and worked toward a possible agreement. He said the university is very modern and about the size of SIUC.
He said he plans to take law students to the university for an 11-day visit in the fall.
The agreement starts with the law school, he said, but will eventually expand to the whole campus.
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana, is located in southern Africa and has been a democratic country since 1966 when it became free from the United Kingdom’s rule.
Since its independence, the country has gone through the largest growth in per capita income in the world.
This prosperity has turned the Republic of Botswana from one of the poorest nations in the world to a middle-income country.