For the past seven years, civic engagement has become a cornerstone of a Tulane education. Last week, the Tulane model was on display for a delegation from a university in Pakistan hoping to incorporate service learning into its curriculum.
Humaira Ahmad, right, assistant professor at Fatima Jinnah Women University in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, leads a delegation visiting Tulane to learn more about engaged learning that has become an essential part of the Tulane experience. (Photo by Ryan Rivet)
The three-member delegation from Fatima Jinnah Women University in Rawalpindi was on campus for four days meeting with students, faculty and administrators to learn how to make public service an integral part of the university experience for their 4,000 students.
The program, funded by a grant from the U.S. State Department through the organization Innovations in Civic Participation, paired Tulane and Fatima Jinnah in what Vincent Ilustre, executive director of the Tulane Center for Public Service
, calls a “perfect match.”
“They happen to have a graduation requirement for service like we do,” Ilustre says. “Unlike ours, theirs is a community service requirement, so they’re particularly interested in finding opportunities to engage and perhaps to rethink their requirement to become a curricular requirement similar to ours.”
The visit is just the beginning of the relationship. Students and faculty will continue to interact with their Pakistani counterparts via social media and video conferencing, and a group from Tulane will head to Pakistan this summer to hold workshops about empowering women to become more “visible and active in their communities.”
Ilustre says this partnership further cements the university's leadership in community engagement. The Center for Public Service has received inquiries and visits from more than 50 national and international programs a year since its inception.
“It’s pretty gratifying and speaks volumes about the effort our faculty, students, administration and staff have made in collaboration with our community,” Ilustre says.
Tulane students also will benefit from a long-term relationship with Fatima Jinnah.
“That’s an exciting opportunity for us in terms of getting our students to think about culture and service in different parts of the world.”