Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski is in the Middle East this week, where he’s expected to sign a unique agreement with leaders of Iraq.
The Memorandum of Understanding is a five-year collaboration on renewable energy between Oregon State University and Iraq’s minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
It has the backing of the Michael Scott Mater Foundation. It helped bring 19 Iraqi educators to Oregon last year.
OSU officials say the five-year agreement is the first of its kind between Iraq and a U.S. state.
Ed Ray is the president of Oregon State University.
Ed Ray: “My heart goes out to the people of Iraq who’ve stepped up and are trying to rebuild their higher education system – and for us to have a chance to help them maybe be a little more successful than they otherwise would be – it’s just a tremendous honor.”
Ray says Oregon State researchers will share “green energy” expertise with visiting Iraqi professors, and that Oregon experts will spend time in Iraq. The plan is to focus on engineering at first, but potentially expand into agriculture, and other areas.
Ray says OSU ought to see more Iraqi students, as a result, as well.