Clemson and the University of Belgrade have made advancements in a growing partnership between the two universities, as Clemson recently hosted a delegation made up of seven Belgrade graduate students, three faculty members, and an embassy staff member. The seven students on the exchange visit were master’s students in the U.S. Studies program, and this was their first time visiting the United States.
This trip was made possible by a grant received by the Department of Political Science from the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade in 2020. The $104,000 grant is to facilitate faculty and student exchanges and the development of long-term collaborations with faculty at the University of Belgrade. Grant partners include Jeffrey Peake, chair of the Department of Political Science, the Clemson Office of Global Engagement, Dragan R. Simic, Dean of the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade, Director and Founder of their Center for the Studies of the United States of America and Dragan Zivojinovic, secretary of the Center for the Studies of the United States of America.
Past program experiences have included Clemson students studying abroad at the University of Belgrade, as well as participating in virtual exchanges.
The visiting exchange group had an immersive week strengthening the partnership between the two universities and countries. “We are partners in every true sense of the word. Such a collaboration expands the horizons of CU students, and they learn from other perspectives, something that is very important when studying international relations and conflict,” Peake said.
The weeklong itinerary had a wide range of events, from attending political science lectures to having a botanist-led tour of Clemson’s Botanical Gardens. The group also toured Clemson sites such as Fort Hill and Cooper library, as well as learned about different Clemson resources such as the newly reopened Social Media Listening Center and research resources in Cooper library.
Dragan Simic, Dean of Faculty of Political Sciences at the University of Belgrade, said that the partnership with Clemson University since 2006 has grown through the years and has also been like a window to the world, especially in the form of the most recent delegation visit.
“We enjoyed the warm hospitality and had a lot of opportunities to learn from Clemson University professors and colleagues through lectures, open discussions, and seeing how they do work,” Simic said, “We are very grateful to professor Peake and all our American colleagues and friends.”
Jenna Maunsell, a junior political science major at Clemson, studied abroad at the University of Belgrade and accompanied the delegation in many of their recent South Carolina excursions.
“Getting the chance to show the Serbian students and professors around Clemson, Columbia, and Charleston was just so special, Maunsell said. “I know that I, along with the other Clemson students that were involved, loved hearing their impressions of our campus and the other South Carolina places we traveled to. I especially loved bringing them to some of my favorite places that make Clemson special, such as Y-beach or Cooper library.”
During the pandemic, students in Peake’s U.S. Foreign Policy course participated in virtual classroom collaborations with students at the University of Belgrade to discuss the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
The more perspectives students hear, the more they gain a deeper understanding of the world.Jeffery Peake, Department of POlitical Science Chair
Peake has many hopes for the future of the collaboration, one of which includes expanding the program to include more disciplines beyond the Department of Political Science so that more Clemson students have the opportunity to be involved.
“A global perspective is so important for students at Clemson, so further expanding our cooperation with the University of Belgrade will only enhance that perspective and the educational experiences of our students,” Peake said.
The Department of Political Science is a part of the Clemson University College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences (CBSHS). Established in 2016, CBSHS is a 21st-century, land-grant college that combines work in seven schools and departments – Communication; Nursing; Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management; Political Science; Psychology; Public Health Sciences; and Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice – to further its mission in “building people and communities” in South Carolina and beyond.
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