On 27th of September 2018, the Annual Dissemination Conference of the TIGRIS Project took place at the Cultural Center of Salahaddin University – Erbil.
Titled “Internationalization of Higher Education in Kurdistan Region of Iraq – Towards future convergence with European Higher Education”, the Conference gathered representatives of the TIGRIS Project, political stakeholders, HEI managers as well as members of the Council of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, to present the achievments of the TIGRIS Project and to engage in discussion on reform of Higher Education in Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
The conference began with opening remarks by the host of the event and President of Salahaddin University Dr. Ahmed Anwar Amin Dezaye welcoming the participants and stressing the importance of the TIGRIS Project for the development of Higher Education in Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
The president’s remarks were followed by the keynote of Dr. Khattab Ahmed Mustafa, Managing Director for Administration and Financial Affairs of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Kurdistan, who on behalf of the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Dr. Yusuf Goran presented the Ministry’s future vision on Higher Education in Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
After the keynote and as guests of honor, Mr. Michal Svoboda, Consul General of the Czech Rrepublic, Mr. Willem Cosijn, Consul General of the Netherlands, and Ms. Helena Merks, Deputy Consul General of Germany, each delivered a welcome address reassuring their support for the reform efforts undertaken in the TIGRIS Project. In his follow-up speech, Dr. Uwe Muuss, Coordinator of the TIGRIS Project, expressed his sincere gratituted for the support shown and gave a deeper insight into to genesis of the TIGRIS Project and its inherent goals.
After a short break, the conference continued with the presentation of Mr. Bryar Hassan, Director of the International Relations Office at the Kurdistan Institution for Strategic Studies and Scientific Research, reviewing the acitivities and outcomes of the project’s first year and presenting what is to come in the year ahead.
He was followed by Dr. Mohammed Azeez Saeed, Director of Grants & Academic Projects at Salahaddin University – Erbil, who gave an insight into the institutional changes undertaken at Salahaddin University, namely the opening of an “Office of Grants and Academic Projects” as well as an “Erasmus plus Coordination Office”, in order to support the institution’s internationalisation efforts.
In his follow-up talk, Dr. Karzan Ghafur Khidhir, Director of International Academic Relations & Media from University of Sulaimani, presented about the experience made in undertaking international joint PhD education thereby providing valuable insight into future areas of reform in order to strengthen the ability of Kurdish HEIs to engange in international doctoral education.
Taking up the topic of future HE reforms, Dr. Carlos Machado, Higher Education Reform Expert and External Quality Expert of the TIGRIS Project, delivered a talk on recognition of studies and pointed out future steps for bringing Kurdish Higher Education closer to the European Area of Higher Education.
Finally, Mr. Saman Mohammed Othman, Head of the English Department of Raparin University, presented on the introduction of ECTS-based study programmes, one of the key aspects in reforming and internationalising HE in Kurdistan Region of Iraq, thereby sharing valuable insight and tips with his colleagues present.
The conference concluded with a round table discussion, highligting and addressing key points of topics presented on and raising awareness to future fields of action.