The breaking ground ceremony of the British International University was held on Thursday 8 December in Erbil, Iraq with the presence of the Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister and Cabinet as well as senior officials from the United Kingdom.
The British International University in Erbil will provide teaching support for University of London degree programmes at its purpose-built campus from September 2023. The supported programmes are in a range of areas including Business, Management and Computer Science, with provision to offer the full range of UoL programmes from 2024.
The campus, with a size of 150,000 sq ft, will have dedicated student accommodation to cater for students from Iraq and the wider region.
The British International University is owned by local Erbil-based investors and GEMS Middle East Holding and is the first international university in Iraq.
Both the UK and Kurdistan Regional Governments see the construction of the university as a significant opportunity to support the Kurdistan Region of Iraq as a world class academic hub, as well as harness future international co-operative research and educational collaborations.
University of London students will be able to study at the British International University from September 2023, with capacity for 8,000 students in the first six years.
At the breaking ground ceremony in Erbil, H.E Prime Minister Barzani, said:
“I hope the teaching of University of London degrees in Kurdistan, which is a renowned international university, can serve the education and scientific sector in the Kurdistan Region.”
Prime Minister Barzani extended his appreciation to the British diplomats in the country as well as other Kurdish officials for realising the project.
The UK Consul General to Erbil, David Hunt added:
“We, as the United Kingdom are keen to increase ties and develop our relationship with the KRI further in the education sector. Such collaboration epitomises the relationship between the UK and the Kurdistan Region.”
Professor Wendy Thomson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, said:
“It gives me great pleasure to welcome this ground-breaking ceremony of British International University Erbil, which will begin teaching University of London programmes from September 2023. The University of London is renowned for providing distance education to more than 40,000 students around the world, and we look forward to extending our offer of world class degree programmes to students in Kurdistan, Iraq and the wider region.”