CONTACT: STEPHEN PRADARELLI
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: June 15, 2000
UI wins $770,000 in U.S. grants to aid educators in former USSR
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa education professor Paul Retish has
secured two U.S. grants totaling almost $770,000 to help establish civics
education programs in the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Moldova.
The larger of the grants, $471,401 from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau
of Educational and Cultural Affairs, will be used to plan, develop and field
test a curriculum and instructional materials on democracy and civic education
for use by Georgian fifth- through ninth-grade teachers and students. A group
of experts from Georgia, Bulgaria and the United States will review the educational
products. And a team of secondary school teachers from Georgia -- one of 11
former republics of the Soviet Union that now make up the Commonwealth of
Independent States -- will field test the new curriculum and materials.
The other grant, $296,807 from the U.S. Information Agency, will be used
for similar purposes to help Moldovan secondary school teachers and students
develop and field test new curriculum and materials on democracy and civics.
Moldova, also part of the former Soviet Union, is not a member of the Commonwealth.
The grant period for the Georgian project is February 2000 through January
2003. The grant period for the Moldovan project is January 2000 through December
2001. Retish will administer both grants and make visits to the participating
"These teachers will come here for two weeks for an orientation on
developing and implementing materials on democracy and civics," Retish
said. "They have no knowledge of their own histories, of their heroes
or of democracy. So we really are going to open up doors that they are going
to walk through and without infringement learn about their own history.
"Although there are a lot of ethnic differences and dislikes among
citizens in these countries, ultimately our plan is to bring all of these
groups together to determine how they work with each other and learn together,"
Retish added. "That's what democracy is all about."