The first visit welcomed the KRG’s Minister for Education, His Excellency Alan Hama Saeed Salih, as part of a new collaboration with GEMS Middle East – who anticipate the launch of a university based in Erbil, Kurdistan in 2023.
University of London will deliver training programmes in best-practice education, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. After a tour of the campus, some presentations and a visit to UCL’s Institute of Education, the minister discussed University of London’s quality standards and how best to assist in the development of region-wide continuing professional development for teachers and lecturers at the new university in Erbil, Kurdistan.
A second visit saw us welcome the Minister for Higher Education, Professor Aram Mohammad Qadir and his Deputy Minister for Higher Education, Assist Professor Abdulfattah Abdulrazzaq. Their visit was also attended by the UK British Consul General for Kurdistan, David Hunt, via a live video link.
The visits, held at the end of May, were organised jointly between University of London’s Business Development department and GEMS Middle East to enable the two institutions to discuss proposals and plans for the growth of the new education centre: GEMS is investing over $20m in the large, purpose-built campus.
Both the UK and Kurdistan Regional governments see the collaboration as a significant opportunity to support the rebuilding and redevelopment of the Kurdistan region and so assist economic stability, as well as harness future international co-operative research and educational collaborations. It has the support of the UK’s Ambassador to Iraq, Mark Bryson-Richardson MBE, and the UK government’s special envoy to Iraq, Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne.
The first intake of University of London students should take place in September 2023, with up to 5,000 students enrolling in the first six years. The aim for the following years is that more than 20,000 students will be recruited, as multiple sites are developed across the region in collaboration with the University of London.
Ian Jamieson, Director of Global Business Development at University of London, said:
This new collaboration is very exciting for the University of London, and we are really looking forward to working with GEMS Middle East in this mutually rewarding capacity. Our work with GEMS will not only help the Kurdistan region, but should help to shape a positive and fulfilling future – for many teachers and lecturers as well as for thousands of students across the world.