Exclusive interview of Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) with the President of the American University in Bulgaria, David Huwiler, for Novinite's "International Survey Bulgaria-USA."
Dr. David Huwiler has been the President of AUBG since 2007. He has an outstanding background combining experience in the US higher education and leadership in American Universities abroad.
Prior to coming to AUBG, he served as the first board-selected president of the American University of Central Asia and was later elected the founding president of the American University in Nigeria (AAUN)....
"Poverty leads to low performance in conventional state schools in many countries, and most esp. in Bulgaria and here in the region. "
You got that backwards. Stupidity leads to low education and low education leads to poverty. Some people just don't have what it takes to absorb education. They are stupid and therefore poor and their children are stupid as well. Smart people don't stay poor for long in a capitalist society. Clearly you are a socialist nut job.
This is all-in-all an excellent interview. But the interviewer is wrong to pose a question saying AUBG is not financed from the American government.
AUBG FUNDING: The AUBG website lists USAID as a source of support. The America for Bulgaria Foundation was made possible by the BAEF, an investment fund actually created by the US government under President George Bush Senior and acting thhough USAID to channel US capital into Eastern Europe.
The ABF set up in 2008 has $400 million. It is a major extension of US capital into Bulgaria. http://www.americaforbulgaria.org/page/about It does good work in Bulgaria, for example with Roma in poverty, not just $$$ to assist the most privileged young Bulgarians or Bulgarian entrepreneurs.
But one can ask: How much AUBG actually gets from ABF, since the university has no endowment? Perhaps Bulgaria could demand that American colleges operating on its territory have full transparency about how they are funded. How much are its faculty members making? Would any of these foreigner scholars come to Bulgaria for a Bulgarian academic salary of 600 leva? How much did the new dormitory cost at AUBG? A fair question to ask in a city where Southwestern University, a short walk from AUBG, struggles to survive under virtually permanent austerity conditions since 1990.
SECOND POINT: Not touched on in the interview is an interesting question: what are the actual working connections between AUBG and staff/students at Southwestern University in Blagoevgrad? For example, between the two English departments? Or other similar disciplines? Are there joint projets or events of any kind bringing staff and students together? We think some research needs to be done on that. A journalist could explore it. Interesting is how Bulgraina academics teaching at Southwestern U view AUBG on its doorstep. A good interview series for novinite. What has AUBG really done hands-on to help strengthen Bulgarian tertiary education in its own direct neighborhood?
A THIRD POINT is a basic one about what select universities do: why go only for the best students by traditional testing methods? Surely the students that need high-quality education are those who haven't done so well in conventional secondary education. Or who come from low-income strata and inevitably tend to do poorly in elementary school, as research by Stephen Krashen and others in the U.S. shows very clearly. Poverty leads to low performance in conventional state schools in many countries, and most esp. in Bulgaria and here in the region.
Radical educator Alfie Kohn recently questioned: "Why are colleges looking for the most qualified students?" He quoted psychologist David McClelland: "One would think that the purpose of education is precisely to improve the performance of those who are not doing very well [...] SEE http://tinyurl.com/34bcdae
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