BLOOMINGTON – Nejla Routsong, assistant professor for the School of Business at Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington, was granted a sponsorship to travel to Egypt and Rwanda for the purposes of business, academic, and cultural exchange. Routsong was accompanied by 21 faculty members and administrators representing 12 different colleges and universities across the nation. The trip, December 31, 2016 through January 15, 2017, was funded by the Indiana University Center for International Business Education and Research (IU CIBER). Each year of its four-year grant period, IU CIBER offers Faculty Development in International Business (FDIB) sponsorships to two or three faculty from Minority Serving Institution partners, including Ivy Tech Community College, to attend various FDIBs offered by other CIBER programs.

Routsong was given a choice among six FDIB programs with varying international destinations and chose the “FDIB – MENA (Middle East and North Africa) & East Africa” program.

“This trip was a wonderful opportunity for Ivy Tech to establish educational partnerships in the culturally rich and economically dynamic regions of Northeast Africa,” said Routsong. “The progress that has been made in Rwanda in the last 20 years is truly exceptional. According to World Bank, it has risen from virtually the bottom to being the number two ranked country in Africa. To become less financially dependent on other nations, they created a national stock exchange, as well as currency and bond markets.”

Routsong says that the Rwandan government also has an impressive commitment to sustainable development policies to protect their natural resources while growing their economy. “For instance, Rwanda has a national ban on plastic bags, a policy that could arguably be much more easily absorbed by a developed economy like the United States than a fledgling one like Rwanda’s,” she said.

“I also met with several business faculty from Egypt and Rwanda who intend to explore collaborative learning projects with me that I hope will help bridge the distance for Ivy Tech students between Indiana and the rest of the world,” Routsong said.

She looks forward to following up on the contacts she made and turning projects into a reality for Ivy Tech students.

Routsong teaches international business, business strategy, and digital marketing at Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington. She holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship from Ball State University, a master’s degree in international relations and international economic theory from University of Kent, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and mathematics from DePauw University. As a member of the global studies committee at Ivy Tech Bloomington, Routsong is part of the leadership team that makes recommendations on globalizing curriculum.

The IU Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), housed in the Institute for International Business, leverages the institutional strengths of Indiana University and the Kelley School of Business to offer programs for business professionals, faculty, and students to enhance their understanding of the global marketplace and strengthen their foreign language skills. IU CIBER is a national resource center — one of only 17 such centers funded by a Title VI grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The Faculty Development in International Business (FDIB) – MENA & East Africa program is offered annually by a consortium of CIBER universities. This program, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education and lead-managed by the CIBER universities of South Carolina, BYU and The George Washington University, focuses on providing participating faculty a unique international study tour opportunity, which will ultimately assist the United States in its international competitiveness via pedagogy, research and business outreach. The objective of the FDIB-MENA/East Africa program is to raise faculty awareness of the economic, political and cultural environments that exist in the Middle East and East Africa today, and, ultimately, to leverage that first-hand awareness into competence and expertise in classrooms and on research campuses throughout the United States.

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.