You can’t see it from a map, but Morgantown and West Virginia University form a melting pot that’s becoming more flavorful with each passing day.

The dots may not appear connected when you mention WVU, Moldova and drinking water, but when you add a recent partnership including WVU and GlobalPittsburgh with a Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation grant, the pattern is clearer.

This week, six visitors from Moldova – a former Soviet state wedged between Romania and Ukraine – stopped at WVU to discuss water quality issues and their intersection with the environment and government as part of a 10-day trip to the U.S. The team was in the U.S. as part of the Library of Congress’ Open World Leadership Center program.

On Thursday (Sept. 16), the Moldovan delegation met with the National Environmental Services Center at WVU. The visitors hoped to learn more from WVU experts about issues ranging from water treatment methods, water quality monitoring and health assessment, environmental law, renewable energy and recycling.

“Meeting with the Moldovan delegation reminded me just how much we have in common with other members of our global community,” said NESC Director Gerald Iwan. “Water and wastewater disposal, and the environmental condition, are as important to the quality of life in Moldova as they are in the here in Morgantown, WV.

“Coming together on these issues from different cultures and life experiences allowed us to share perspectives and adds new dimensions to our efforts to address the challenges our small and rural communities face daily. We intend to build upon this relationship.”

The visitors included Nina Nicolai Bandiu, a teacher and project coordinator for a non-governmental organization called Consult-Nord; Vasile Tudor Bitca, the chairman of the Apa Canal coordinating council; Tudor Ilie Cislaru, director of the Tighina Information Center; Iulian Vasile Rotaru, president of the Izvorasul Water Users Association; and Ion Salaru, vice president of the National Public Health Center. The five leaders were accompanied by a translator, Liliana Ursu.

“We are so very pleased to have the group from Moldova on campus and look forward to partnering with GlobalPittsburgh to host others in the near future,” said Michael Wilhelm, director of WVU’s Office of International Students and Scholars.

“These visits benefit not only the representatives here on any particular visit, but also enhance the WVU profile in the greater Pittsburgh area and with the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.,” Wilhelm said.

“The bottom line is that we have an excellent faculty involved in cutting-edge research projects here in Morgantown, and this allows more and more people to learn about them.”

In addition to meeting with representatives from NESC and the Office of International Students and Scholars, the Moldavians visited with experts from the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design ; Department of Chemical Engineering ; the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Technical Assistance Center; WVU Research Corp. ; and the Monongalia County Solid Waste Authority.

This is the second international visit funded through the Benedum grant with GlobalPittsburgh, but the first international visit coordinated through GlobalPittsburgh as part of the Benedum grant. In August, representatives from Jazan University – in Jazan, Saudi Arabia – learned about WVU’s School of Medicine and Intensive English Program. This grant is an important part of WVU’s international outreach, enabling the University to dedicate a staff member to coordinating international visits.

In the last few months, the university has signed agreements with VIT University in India, the University of Rome Tor Vergata, and the China University for Mining and Technology-Beijing to exchange research and/or students and faculty. WVU has also signed a cooperation agreement with the Mine Reclamation Corp. of Korea, and welcomed visitors from an already formed partnership with the Royal University for Women in Bahrain.




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