IUGB is a privately governed university, and the first in Côte d'Ivoire to follow the American model of higher education. According to IUGB President Saliou Touré, the university was established after the country began looking at the U.S. education system in 1994.
The goal was to create a regional center of excellence that prepared a workforce not only for the sustained growth and development of West Africa, but to compete in a global environment. The university has collaborated with Georgia State University (GSU) since 1998 and is looking to diversify its international partnerships with other universities, including the University of Houston.
IUGB students take 60 hours of core classes at the Grand-Bassam campus, located a short drive from Abidjan, the economic and commercial center of the Ivory Coast. Eligible students are then able to complete another two years of instruction at Georgia State, receiving their degree from GSU.
Among the topics discussed during the meeting with the Côte d'Ivoire delegation was whether a similar partnership with UH would be mutually beneficial. The group discussed offering new curriculum pathways to IUGB students through UH. These would potentially be career pathways not currently offered at GSU. The brainstorming ideas included offering more science and technology instruction, such as project management, construction science and engineering technology, through the UH College of Technology.
The dignitaries visiting UH included former Cote d'Ivoire Prime Minister Daniel Duncan, who serves as chair of the IUGB Board of Trustees; Saliou Touré, IUGB president; and Ambassador John Hicks, associate provost for international affairs at GSU.
The delegation met with UH administrators who included William Fitzgibbon, dean of the UH College of Technology, and Jerald Strickland, assistant vice president of international studies program. While the initial meeting was exploratory, IUGB said it would invite a UH delegation to visit its campus in the near future to discuss opportunities for future collaboration.