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International Programs
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(319) 335-2026

Release: Sept. 13, 2002

24 African university officials visit UI as part of WiderNet Project

The University of Iowa's WiderNet Project will host two dozen high-level Nigerian university administrators Sept. 20 to Oct. 4 for a workshop focusing on computers and networks in higher education. The two-week session is designed to introduce decision makers to a wide variety of issues they face as they digitize their campuses and to provide technical, financial, and organizational coaching.

"The goal of this workshop is to provide our visitors hands-on and practical exposure to IT on campus," said Cliff Missen, co-director of the WiderNet Project. "Many of our guests are installing their institution's first ICT infrastructure, and we aim to assist these partners in gaining the expertise to be second-time buyers the first time around."

Dozens of UI experts and professionals will host discussions, seminars, and hands-on demonstrations of the campus ICT infrastructure. Participants will hear from consultants and fundraising experts, visit cutting-edge facilities at the UI and Kirkwood Community College, and participate in video-conferences with internationally recognized experts in the field.

"Once our African colleagues are on-line and comfortable with these technologies, we will be able to communicate and collaborate more effectively," said Michael McNulty, UI geography professor and WiderNet co-director. "We see this as a great opportunity to advance the Nigerian university IT capacity and create more opportunities for students and faculty at the UI."

More information about the workshop, including events, times, locations and participants, is on the Web:

The University of Iowa's WiderNet Project aims to improve digital communication in developing countries. This includes training computer technicians, coaching decision-makers of Nigerian universities, increasing bandwidth, establishing university intranets, donating computers and computer equipment, and distributing library materials on CD-ROM.

The WiderNet Project is part of UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree and academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and training.

The WiderNet Project is funded by the UI, the MacArthur Foundation, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Nigerian National Universities Commission. Additional funding for some participants is provided by the Carnegie Corporation.

WiderNet is currently collecting used computer and network equipment for use in Nigerian universities. For information on how to make donations, visit the Web site,, or contact Justin Thiltgen at WiderNet (319) 335-2200.