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A Sept. 23 workshop will be the first gathering for Old Dominion University faculty and staff who will shape an international project to equip students in assisting those living under Third World conditions, both abroad and within the United States.

In summer 2006 students from ODU, James Madison University, Tidewater Community College and Norfolk State University will travel at their own expense to the Dominican Republic as part of a service-learning course. The course will focus on global citizenship and development and service-learning, and will include presentations by government, non-governmental organization and social service agency representatives.

Students will learn the political, social and hands-on necessities that surround development in the Third World, as well as redevelopment (applicable to both foreign and domestic situations), after a natural disaster when serving the poor, under-housed and medically needy.

"In the Dominican Republic, we will work on development issues for those who are poor and underserved," said John Heyl, executive director of international programs at Old Dominion. "Although, with Hurricane Katrina we have all seen that the Gulf area was America's Third World. Now this program has even more meaning and application domestically than ever before. This is transferable knowledge the students will be gaining."

The Office of International Programs received a $5,000 minigrant from the American Council on Education to fund the program. The grant money is already at work, allowing ODU faculty members to make an advance visit to the Dominican Republic to get systems in place for students who will be arriving from ODU next summer.

"This program goes beyond just getting involved with a specific project - like volunteering to build something," Heyl said. "In this program students might learn about the business skills related to marketing craft projects or the logistics and politics that happen around building a latrine for a school."

To register for the Sept. 23 workshop, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., contact Patty Wade at pwade@odu.edu or 683-5195. The deadline for registration is Monday, Sept. 19.

This article was posted on: September 16, 2005

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