MDI program helps nations improve citizens’ lives
Training sessions conducted throughout the year by the Office of International Studies and Programs’ Management Development International (MDI) program help to support vital infrastructure work, public health initiatives, education programs and other development projects in nations across the globe.
Every summer, dozens of government and private sector officials from developing nations come to Illinois State to take part in development project management training courses. The MDI programs meet the needs of nations working to improve the lives of citizens. The month-long training sessions every July focus on the effective implementation, management and evaluation of large-scale development projects, human resources management and the financial management of development projects. The classes, taught by MDI staff members, Illinois State faculty and visiting scholars, are offered in both English and French.
“Through these development project training courses, MDI and Illinois State provide a valuable service to people from across the globe,” said Momar Ndiaye, director of the Office of International Studies and Programs. “Government and private sector officials gain the knowledge they need to successfully plan and implement vital development projects in their home countries.”
MDI participants include government and private sector officials from a large number of African, Asian and Caribbean nations. The continuing growth of the training programs, since their inception in 2001, can be directly attributed to MDI’s responsiveness to real world development training needs, its flexible training programs and its experienced instructors.
Courses consist of lecture and workshops that utilize computer applications and case studies. Participants put their course work skills into practice through individual class projects based on the needs of their home countries. The July training program also includes site visits to local government offices and businesses as well as cultural visits to Chicago, Springfield and St. Louis, Mo.
Participants’ travel and training costs are paid by their home governments, sponsoring organizations and various international development agencies including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank. The funding not only allows more people from developing nations to participate in the training, it also serves as an endorsement of the quality of MDI offerings.
MDI also conducts independent study training sessions for individuals and small groups throughout the year, both on campus and in other nations. MDI staff members Alberto Pena, OISP associate director and MDI Anglophone coordinator, and Abdourahmane Thiam, MDI Francophone coordinator, work throughout the year to market MDI programs, communicate with prospective participants and investigate opportunities to expand training session offerings overseas.
“One of the main goals of MDI is to contribute to the internationalization of Illinois State University,” said Pena. “We are hopeful that a better understanding between peoples of different cultures can be enhanced through formal and informal contacts between MDI participants and Illinois State faculty, staff and students.”