UPEI President and Vice-Chancellor Alaa Abd-El-Aziz recently returned from an eight-day UPEI/PEI mission to Egypt and Turkey as part of his student-faculty mobility and international recruitment strategy.
The President met with senior higher education government officials and with several universities in both countries. UPEI’s focus is on enhancing current, and developing new, partnerships in the Middle East as well as China, Japan, and parts of Africa such as Nigeria and Ethiopia.
While in Egypt, Abd-El-Aziz was accompanied by Premier of Prince Edward Island Robert Ghiz and Canadian Ambassador to Egypt David Drake, who was a great support in facilitating many meetings. After meeting with the Minister of Higher Education and Deputy Minister of Higher Education at the Cairo University campus, Abd-El-Aziz said, “Premier Ghiz and his grasp of the Island’s post-secondary education system was very well-received at the universities we visited. I was proud to participate in our joint mission, educating our colleagues on how PEI offers a safe, stable environment in which to pursue post-secondary education. UPEI has a strong tradition of educating and welcoming people from around the world dating back to its St. Dunstan’s University and Prince of Wales College roots and we were successful in reinforcing an already positive reputation.”
A highlight of the Egypt portion of the trip was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with October 6 University, located just outside Cairo, to establish a teaching and learning centre on the October 6th campus and to explore 2 plus 2 programs (where students complete two years of study at one university and finish the final two at the other). Premier Ghiz signed as a witness to the agreement.
The President and Premier also met with students from many different fields as well as medical students. Students were very interested in the Canadian democratic system and the potential for further studies in Canada. Representatives from the October 6 University student union and ENCTUS (formerly known as SIFE or Students in Free Enterprise) were also in attendance.
Meetings also took place with longstanding partner Misr International University to discuss establishing a collaborative Centre for Professional Development, and with the British University in Egypt (BUE) President Ahmed Amin Hamza to discuss a possible agreement to begin student mobility projects between BUE and UPEI.
Premier Ghiz and President Abd-El-Aziz then travelled to Istanbul to meet with Canadian Ambassador to Turkey John Holmes, and business leaders of the Turkish business council to discuss opportunities for cooperative work in both PEI and Turkey. Ambassador Holmes was instrumental in the organization of a number of events including a meeting with the Deputy Governor of Istanbul City to discuss mutual collaboration in industry and post-secondary education.
While in Turkey, the president, chair of the Board of Trustees, vice-presidents, deans, and students of Bahcesehir University hosted the UPEI delegation for meetings, resulting in the signing of an MOU between UPEI and Bahcesehir University. Preliminary discussions entertained the possible establishment of an Institute for English Academic Preparation (EAP) on the UPEI campus; international practicum experience opportunities for UPEI Education and Nursing students; engineering and climate change research collaborations; and student exchange and mobility programs.
“UPEI continues to offer quality education by recognizing that international experiences for our students are equally as important as classroom learning. By experiencing other cultures either on campus or by travelling and studying abroad, our students will discover that our world is becoming “smaller” and despite differences, there are many common challenges we face,” added Abd-El-Aziz. “With a global perspective and the province of PEI serving as a laboratory-like environment, UPEI students will have even greater opportunity to develop and share creative solutions that have global applications.”
“This is why my goal is to continue building strategic relationships with universities around the world. The success of this mission to Egypt and Turkey was due in large part to having our Premier with us to present our province and our University as an excellent educational destination.”