NORMAN — Two grants from the U.S. State Department will allow the University of Oklahoma's Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication to expand its work in South Asia, officials say.
The college received grants totaling $1.3 million through the State Department's Education and Cultural Affairs bureau.
The largest grant will provide $1 million to establish a partnership with Pakistan's University of Gujrat. The second provides $360,000 to continue the college's work with media professionals in Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh grant builds on work OU has done in the country for the past eight years. The new grant will allow OU to bring 18 media professionals to Norman in April and October. University officials plan to place those professionals in extended work experience programs with Oklahoma City media outlets during their visits.
The project also will send two delegations of Oklahoma media professionals on visits to Bangladesh.
Gaylord College Dean Joe Foote said the Bangladesh program is a partnership with OU's Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth. Although the grant wasn't specific to media outlets, Foote said, it allows the university to use the connections the Gaylord College has in the region in conjunction with entrepreneurship expertise from the Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth.
“It was a nice combination, in the end,” he said.
Foote will be meeting a group of Oklahoma media professionals Friday in Bangladesh, where they will spend two weeks visiting a variety of businesses in the country.
After that visit, Foote will go to Pakistan to lay the groundwork for the college's project there. OU will be assisting the University of Gujrat as it develops and expands its Center for Media and Communication Studies, including establishing a television station.
The grant will allow OU to bring faculty from the University of Gujrat to visit Oklahoma, Foote said. OU faculty will offer professional development for the university's faculty and technical expertise, he said, as well as general support for whatever needs the university has.
The Gaylord College has worked with media professionals from Bangladesh and other South Asian countries, including India, Nepal and Pakistan, for the past eight years. During that project, OU has brought about 250 South Asian media professionals and entrepreneurs to Norman, Foote said.
“It's been a way to spur economic ties between Oklahoma and Bangladesh and create some partnerships where none existed before,” Foote said.