Management gets $550,000 to promote private sector development in Middle Eastern countries

December 4, 2006

DEARBORN / Dec. 4, 2006---The School of Management at the University of Michigan-Dearborn recently received two grants from the U.S. Department of State to promote private sector development in Middle Eastern countries.

The first grant will support entrepreneurship and small business growth in Yemen. The $250,000 program has four phases and will take place over the next 18 months.

The second grant is a three-year, $300,000 collaboration with the University of Garyounis in Benghazi, Libya.

"These grants are just another of the many examples at UM-Dearborn of how, by working together with the local community, we can bring federal dollars and economic opportunities to southeastern Michigan," according to Prof. Aaron Ahuvia, director of international programming for Europe and emerging markets at UM-Dearborn, who’s coordinating both projects.

The first project on entrepreneurship and small business growth in Yemen is a collaboration among UM-Dearborn, the American-Arab Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Yemen Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The initial phase of the project will involve two seminars in Yemen for 50 entrepreneurs and/or small business owners delivered by U-M faculty and Arab-American business people.

In the second phase, 15 Yemeni entrepreneurs will spend three weeks in the U.S. to attend workshops and hold internships in local small businesses.

For a third phase of the project, the Yemeni participants will incorporate their U.S. experience--what they learned in the workshops and internships--into the management of their businesses.

The final phase involves longer-term, ongoing mentoring by the Arab-American business community, which will include one-on-one advising as well as seminars and workshops in Yemen.

The second project will focus on building business and economics education at the University of Garyounis in Benghazi, Libya.

“The main objectives of this program are to update the curriculum, the teaching materials and skills of faculty members; to improve the efficiency of the administration of the faculty of economics and commerce; and to expose Libyan faculty and students to American approaches to business and economic education,” according to Barbara Peitsch, grant specialist in the SOM and manager of the two projects.

“More specifically, the goal of the three-year program is to modernize business and economics teaching in Libya, which has been cut off from Western ideas and thinking since the mid-1980s, and especially since the United Nations introduced sanctions and the country was effectively isolated in 1992,” she said.

This project will have three components. The first will address curricular development, and will take place on the campus of the UM-Dearborn.

The second component will focus on faculty development and involve an assessment of faculty needs and exchanges in both directions.

The final component will focus on creating a healthier administrative structure within the faculty of economics and commerce, including needs assessment and exchanges.

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