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Campus collaboration with Swaziland continuing to grow

December 6, 2016

Representatives from IUPUI and Swaziland got better acquainted on a royal family visit to campus.

Campus leaders and members of a Kingdom of Swaziland delegation met this fall to discuss ways to further the current international collaboration between IUPUI and the kingdom. The gathering included, top row from left, Jane Luzar, Ian McIntosh, Gil Latz, Patricia Joubert, Kathy Johnson, Portia Dlamini, Justice Thwala and Vulindlela Simelane. Seated in the front row, from left, are Khetsimphilo Dlamini, Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar and Vumile Dlamini.

Spring may be the season when nature customarily begins to blossom, but this fall has been a productive season for a budding collaboration connecting IUPUI and the Kingdom of Swaziland in southern Africa.

The campus and the kingdom have been working closely in recent years through a series of study abroad programs that have given IUPUI students an opportunity to visit Swaziland and opened the possibilities of more connections in the future.

Meeting the king of Swaziland.

IUPUI study abroad program participants and faculty members had an opportunity to meet the King of Swaziland during their recent visit to the African nation.

The ties between the kingdom and the campus became closer this fall, when a Swazi delegation that included members of the royal family and two deans from the University of Swaziland visited IUPUI. The delegation included two princes from the royal family, Vumile Dlamini and Khetsimphilo Dlamini, both of whom graduated from the School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. The group also included Princess Portia Dlamini.

Swaziland may be small (it is one of the smallest nations in Africa, located almost entirely within the borders of South Africa except for an eastern border with Mozambique), but it is a potentially valuable collaborator. Swaziland is a rapidly developing country of approximately 1.5 million people that faces challenges in health care, business and technology, among other fields -- all areas in which IUPUI has demonstrated expertise, coupled with a desire to help improve the quality of life for people around the world.

Part of the visit involved a project the Swazi royal family considers vital: the new Royal Science and Technology Park, established to encourage innovation and economic development in their country and throughout southern Africa. IUPUI has the capacity to provide essential support to help the park achieve those ambitious goals.

Royal family delegate renews IUPUI ties

School of Engineering and Technology graduate Khetsimphilo Dlamini, right, was part of a Kingdom of Swaziland delegation representing that nation's royal family who visited IUPUI this fall to discuss the ongoing international collaboration between our campus and the kingdom. During the visit, Dlamini spent time getting reacquainted with Jane Talla, left, his international student advisor.

To date, IUPUI's relationship with Swaziland has primarily involved study abroad opportunities coordinated by the Honors College. Among the participating schools:

  • IU School of Nursing
  • Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health
  • Kelley School of Business Indianapolis
  • School of Informatics and Computing
  • School of Engineering and Technology

For the past four years, the Honors College, Fairbanks School and nursing school have overseen a study abroad program in which IUPUI students participate in community-based health organizations, learning about all aspects of health care in the kingdom.

The health science program has appeal for students from additional disciplines, such as business and informatics, that relate to health care and related fields.

Fairbanks also has students who are part of an internship program in the Center for HIV and AIDS Prevention Studies Swaziland, also known as CHAPS. The nongovernmental organization has a mission to reduce the spread of HIV and AIDS, and also to improve the quality of health care in southern Africa.

The School of Engineering and Technology is again planning a Global Design Studio study abroad program in Swaziland in which students will work on a real-life building project to learn about sustainable building and construction.

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