Through funding from a recent grant awarded to Younus Mirza, Ph.D., the director of Global Virtual Learning, Shenandoah University (SU) has launched the Barzinji Institute of International Collaboration, which will be implementing collaborative international projects in each of its three pillars: Service, Academic Practice, and Student Projects and Voices.
The Institute is the latest iteration of the Barzinji Project, which was named for Muslim scholar Dr. Jamal Barzinji and honors his legacy as an educator, community builder and humanitarian. Launched in 2017, the Jamal Barzinji Project for International Collaboration to Advance Higher Education laid the foundation for the cultivation of strong international relationships in higher education through in-person cultural exchange and exploration.
As a result of a pandemic-mandated pivot in 2020, the Barzinji Project launched the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) program, which connects faculty and students from international partner institutions in the United States, Bosnia and Malaysia so that they can continue work on collaborative projects related to interdisciplinary learning and teaching through virtual exchange. The new Barzinji Institute combines lessons learned and spin-off projects from these initiatives to expand the impact and scale of SU’s ability to honor Dr. Barzinji’s legacy across the globe. The work of all three pillars of the Institute will be in advancement of a bi-annual theme selected from one of the seventeen UN sustainable development goals, with the first theme being Goal Two: Zero Hunger.
As a first project from the Service Pillar of the Barzinji Institute, Dr. Mirza and Service Pillar Coordinator Scott McClure, Ph.D., assistant professor of public health, will lead a team in the fight to end world hunger through the upcoming “Zero Hunger” service project.
Barzinji Service delegates selected from the SU community will collect data around the problem of food insecurity in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, and then leverage that data to provide the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank (BRAFB) and its partner agencies with actionable guidance on addressing specific community needs and identifying opportunities for community partnership in order to improve the food security of SU’s local community.
Shenandoah University will coordinate virtually with fellow Barzinji Project members at Yarmouk University in Jordan and the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), who will each be performing their own localized Zero Hunger projects. The service project teams will virtually meet regularly to learn and share about projects to address food insecurity in each of their own communities. The service team delegates will also have the opportunity to travel to one or more of the participating countries to see and hear, in-person, about the service work of their fellow service pillar delegates from participating international institutions.
I am excited about the third phase of the Barzinji Project, which combines in-person and virtual components as well as best practices in international partnerships and interdisciplinary learning.”
Younus Mirza, Ph.D., director of Global Virtual Learning
The Barzinji Institute is seeking applicants from Shenandoah University faculty, staff and student communities to help with the Zero Hunger project. Applicants should be passionate about understanding and solving food insecurity.
If you are interested in being a part of this exciting service and travel opportunity, contact Assistant Professor of Public Health Scott McClure, Ph.D., at firstname.lastname@example.org or Younus Mirza, Ph.D., director of Global Virtual Learning, at email@example.com by Monday, Feb. 28, for more information on how to apply.