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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 23, 2003

UI College Of Education To Host Visitors From Kyrgyz Republic

Eight educators from the Kyrgyz Republic will spend five weeks at the University of Iowa College of Education this fall developing curriculum for democratic citizenship classes at the secondary grade level.

The visit by residents of the former Soviet state is part of an exchange program funded by the U.S. Department of State under the Partners in Education Program of the American Councils for International Education. In March, several educators from the Iowa City School District will travel to the Kyrgyz Republic and spend two weeks there teaching in the classrooms of some of the Kyrgyz visitors to UI.

The Kyrgyz group is expected to stay in Iowa City from Oct. 10 to Nov. 17 and will include teachers, school administrators, and one teacher educator.

"This is unique because the College of Education has never had anyone visit from Kyrgyzstan, and because it's really an exchange program," said Greg Hamot, associate professor in the UI College of Education's Division of Curriculum and Instruction. Hamot is codirecting the exchange with Helen Finken, a former teacher at Iowa City High School and social studies curriculum supervisor for the Iowa City School District.

The Kyrgyz Republic, or Kyrgyzstan as it is informally known, became an independent nation in Central Asia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is bordered to the north by Kazakhstan, to the west and south by Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and to the east by China. The earliest descendents of the Kyrgyz people, believed to be of mixed Mongol, Turkic, and Kypchak descent, settled until the 10th century around what is now the Tyva region of the Russian Federation. (Click here for map enlargement.)

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007,