The third class of master’s students from a host of developing countries recently graduated from the University of Haifa’s pioneering international MA program in child development, one of the only fully funded programs of its kind in the world. The graduates are now returning to their homes in Uganda, Myanmar, Nepal, Liberia, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania and other countries to implement what they learned in Israel.
Perhaps an unlikely patron to developing countries throughout the world, Israel is improving the lives of children at risk globally by training local professionals in this yearlong master’s program. This summer, 18 professionals – including social workers, teachers, pediatric nurses, speech therapists, pediatricians and even one journalist – graduated from the program.
The International MA Program in Child Development was established with the goal of improving the lives of children at risk around the world. It is designed to prepare the next generation of international experts who will focus on pressing questions regarding the nature of child development and how it applies to the lives of children and their families in developing countries.
“Ready to go back and make a change in my home country”
Haifa University’s program equips professionals with the knowledge and skills that are necessary when returning to their home countries to impact the wellbeing of children and their families. The program consists of 36 credit points and includes core courses in child development, concentration-specific courses and workshops that enhance the students’ knowledge of child development from an international perspective.
Leaving their families, jobs and local communities behind for a year and coming to Israel, the program’s students are provided with hands-on experience in addition to their academic studies. “I’m really ready to go back and make a change in my home country,” Emma Murumbe Fynn of Ghana, a graduate of the program, says. “They helped us, and now it’s up to me to help my country and my community.”
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Immersing in Israeli life and culture
According to Karen Berman, CEO of the American Society of the University of Haifa, the program provides “training to professionals that they could not receive anywhere else. At the same time, the students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Israeli life and culture and return to their home countries as ambassadors for Israel.”
She adds that the program “is yet another example of the humanitarian role Israel plays throughout the world.”
University of Haifa’s partners Vital Capital Fund, Open Society Foundation and the Two Lilies Fund provide the funding for the tuition, as well as student housing, food and medical expenses.
Photos and video: The University of Haifa, hdptcar