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Lawrence Tech strengthens cooperation with Bahrain

Release Date: August 29, 2008

Southfield, Mich. - President Lewis N. Walker of Lawrence Technological University has signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Bahrain to facilitate cooperation on academic programs and faculty and student exchanges.

"As we build Lawrence Tech's reputation and partnerships overseas, it strengthens our value to the businesses and industries we serve right here in Michigan and the Great Lakes region," Walker said. "Thriving in the global economy is largely a process of building strong relationships."

The University of Bahrain is a public institution with over 15,000 students in colleges of business and administration, information technology, engineering, education, science, applied science, arts and law.

Bahrain, an archipelago off the west coast of the Persian Gulf, was the first Arabic country to establish government-sponsored education in 1919 and has one of the most sophisticated governmental structures and infrastructural frameworks within the region.

"The Kingdom of Bahrain is among the most progressive countries in the Arab world, and its university has a first-rate faculty and modern facilities," Walker said. "We expect to establish long-term relationships, especially in the area of life sciences."

Walker has visited Bahrain twice this year to discuss to a number of areas of possible cooperation, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa, prime minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, who has been at the forefront of intensifying educational efforts within the Kingdom, played a major role in the collaboration of efforts between both universities. At a meeting with the Lawrence Tech delegation, he stressed that "such cooperation will productively lead to furthering cultural, economic and political understanding between our peoples. The exchange of knowledge and expertise will further strengthen our position as allied countries and will ensure the expansion of our already existing economic and political ties."

His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, who has held many challenging governmental posts throughout his career, generously made a personal contribution to Lawrence Tech in order to mark the beginning of a prosperous future relationship. He stressed the importance of initiating mutually beneficial programs on both ends of the spectrum. He specifically mentioned the need for increasing studies and research within the field of molecular medicine. This notable interest will lead to the formation of the Shaikh Khalifa Institute of Molecular Medicine in Lawrence Tech's College of Arts and Sciences. Other existing life sciences facilities will also be upgraded, and a new life sciences laboratory will be built for that purpose.

Dean Hsiao-Ping Moore of the College of Arts and Sciences noted, "There is a biotechnology revolution under way and molecular and cell biologists are at the forefront of today's advances in biology and medicine. The fact that world leaders are showing personal interest in such studies will enrich the field even more with much needed international attention."

Prime Minister Al Khalifa is a former president of the Education Council in Bahrain and has been a strong supporter of his country's educational system. He received his university education in the United Kingdom and has several honorary degrees, including a doctoral degree of humanities from Lawrence Tech.

"We have aspirations for increasing our benefits from science and knowledge and making the Bahraini citizenry continually informed on key scientific and technological developments through reinforcing cooperation with well-established academic institutions like Lawrence Tech," Shaikh Khalifa said.

Many Bahraini students now pursue university degrees in western countries. The prime minister has identified life sciences as an academic area of special interest to his country. 

Walker is using personal diplomacy to burnish an international reputation for Lawrence Tech and create a steady stream of foreign students coming to its Southfield campus to study. One of his goals as president is to build enduring relationships with universities in India, China and the Middle East and to develop Lawrence Tech degree programs on the ground in these areas where so much economic growth is taking place.

Lawrence Tech already has 23 international academic agreements with universities in Egypt, Jordan, Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, Germany, China, Taiwan, India and Canada. Students from several of these universities have come to the United States to study for bachelor's and master's degrees at Lawrence Tech.

Lawrence Technological University, ltu.edu, offers over 80 undergraduate, master's and doctoral degree programs in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management. Founded in 1932, the 4,500-student, private university pioneered evening classes 75 years ago, and today has a growing number of weekend and online programs. Lawrence Tech's 102-acre campus is in Southfield, with education centers in Lansing, Livonia, Clinton Township, Traverse City and Petoskey. Lawrence Tech also offers programs with partner universities in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.