Six faculty and administrators from Kurdistan, Iraq, visited Appalachian State University for leadership training in April as part of the U.S.-Iraq Higher Education Partnerships (HEP) Program, funded by the nonprofit International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX).

The visit was the second phase of the grant-supported program, which began a year ago. Beginning in spring 2017, 23 Kurdish educators participated in online discussions with Appalachian faculty and staff on leadership and professional development. The initiative was led by the Department of Leadership and Educational Studies in Appalachian’s Reich College of Education.

“It’s an Appalachian connection that made the project happen,” said Dr. Vachel Miller, associate professor and director of Appalachian’s higher education program. Dr. Lori Mason, who earned her Doctor of Education from Appalachian in 2010, has worked on projects in Iraq with IREX for 10 years, and “she reached out to us and asked if Appalachian would like to help with this leadership development project,” Miller said.

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Originally published April 26, 2017. Written by Linda Coutant.