In 2005, Amizade and West Virginia University entered into an innovative and unique academic partnership. Over 15 years later, we’ve now collaborated on over 100 faculty-led courses and connected more than 1,000 students to communities all over the world through service and learning. Together, we’ve helped build libraries in Bolivia and Ghana, water harvesting systems in Tanzania, and a park in rural Jamaica. We’ve inspired students to write children’s books, clarify their career paths, become leaders in medicine and business, and to run for local office. Rarely in international education do partnerships lead to such powerful outcomes for both host communities and visiting students.
“Our partnership with West Virginia University has meant new bonds between history students in Morgantown and indigenous communities in Bolivia, between medical students in Appalachia and the Amazon, and between young people in Northern Ireland and West Virginia. It has created unlikely networks that will no doubt remain linked, altering the way we engage our planet for generations,” says Brandon Blache-Cohen, Amizade’s Executive Director.
Amizade and West Virginia University have pushed the boundaries in standard community-university relationships, leading to hundreds of thousands of dollars of federal and private grants, innovative outdoor education programming, lectures from visitors from all over the world, and even local programming within the state of West Virginia. For ten years, Amizade even organized clean-water advocacy experiences on WVU’s campus. Here’s to another 15 years of life-changing service and learning!