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The University of Denver’s dedication to the public good knows no borders—as evidenced by a partnership between DU’s Daniels College of Business and Herat University in Afghanistan.

Finalized in late 2016, Daniels’ relationship with Herat University is the result of a grant from USAID, the federal organization that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. With a focus on gender equity and diversity, Daniels faculty will serve as mentors to faculty at Herat University, helping them co-create a new MBA curriculum oriented toward building local capacity and employability, while also building the capacity of the Herat University faculty.

“This is entirely consistent with [DU’s strategic plan] Impact 2025, which outlines the University’s longstanding commitment to developing inextricable community connections on the local, regional and global levels,” said Daniels Dean Brent Chrite, who has been helping universities in developing countries establish curricula and training for business students for more than two decades. Having already worked with faculty at Afghanistan’s flagship university in Kabul, Chrite was approached by the bilateral organization FHI about partnering with Herat.

“Afghanistan is one of the most difficult places on the planet, with profound structural, political, economic and cultural challenges that must be addressed if the country is to ever re-emerge as a functioning member of our global community,” he said. “It’s one of the areas of the world that the U.S. is demonstrably committed to impacting. For a business school working to prepare students for the 21st century marketplace this is a wonderful opportunity for our faculty. We believe in the power of the private sector as an essential catalyst for capacity building in other organizations, and business schools have unique capabilities in this arena.”

In January, Chrite was part of a Daniels contingent that traveled to Mumbai, India, to meet with Herat faculty members and the dean of the university’s business school. The in-person meeting enabled the Daniels team to officially kick-off the partnership and perform an initial assessment of Herat University’s needs and capacity.

“The Herat faculty are incredibly engaged and excited to be partnering with Daniels and the University of Denver to co-create an MBA program,” said Patrick Orr, senior director of International Partnerships and Programs, who is serving as project manager for the Herat Partnership. “To be able to help make a difference in a difficult part of the world is an incredible opportunity for Daniels and DU.”

Established in 1988, Herat University is located in western Afghanistan and is the nation’s second largest university with enrollment of roughly 10,500 students—one-third of whom are women. Daniels faculty will work with Herat faculty over the next two years using a blended learning model that includes face to face meetings, synchronous and asynchronous teaching and learning, and virtual classroom engagement.

“DU is an organization with global reach and this partnership enables us to make accessible the incredible talent and capacity that we bring to a problem or issue. It will elevate our brand globally, as well as with the federal government and bilateral agencies,” said Chrite. “Our objective as an institution is to contribute to the rich global community while impacting the human condition.”