A joint press conference

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A joint press conference was held between the European Union and the Ministry of Higher Education and scientific research in Egypt. Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and Ambassador Ivan Surkoš, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Cairo, reiterated during the press conference that Education is amongst the top priorities for the EU-Egypt cooperation.

The two parties, further, discussed the EU-Egypt cooperation tools, particularly in the areas of higher education and scientific research. They also discussed the executive preparations of the EU-Egypt partnership initiative for research and innovation in the Middle East, Prima, early February, after been signed in October 2017 with the purpose of boosting collaboration in research and innovation in Mediterranean countries through establishing a programme for funding research projects to encounter joint challenges that face sustainable food production, providing water in the Mediterranean region and activating partnership among universities, think tanks, the private sector, the government, the public sector, NGOs, and civil society.

During the press conference the Egyptian Minister stressed that Egypt is keen to strengthen cooperation with the EU and its Member States to maximize the benefits from the EU-funded projects in areas of higher education, science and technology and innovation, and participation in EU initiatives to assist Egyptian researchers and to open new scopes for cooperation with Egyptian universities, centres, institutes, and think tanks.

On his part, the EU Ambassador reiterated that the EU and its Member States committed to support and encourages bilateral cooperation with Egypt as a strategic partner in the region. He further expressed that he is looking forward for more cooperation and benefit from EU-funded programmes in higher education and scientific research and innovation.

This is the second meeting since 13 January 2018 meeting held in the premises of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Cairo. The press conference highlighted the participation of Erasmus+ and the projects funded by the programme in the World forum for higher education and scientific research to be held on 4-6 April 2019 under the aegis of Mr. President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of the ARE in the framework of the state policy for supporting higher education and scientific research.

The press conference further tackled boosting the measures of managing the projects funded by Erasmus+ in Egyptian universities and facilitating the task of staff-members to be carried out through these projects with the purpose of maximising the benefits from the funding offered to the various programme.

Erasmus + is an extension of the EU higher education programme Tempus, applied in the ARE over 207-2013 in which a total funding of € 51 million was provided. During this same period, eight student and academia exchange projects were implemented on various educational levels (BSc, MA and Ph.D. fully funded scholarships, and scientific missions for professors) through Erasmus Mundus – External cooperation window, a programme that funded 988 scholarships on all levels. Worth mentioning, Erasmus+ has funded 31 projects over 2014-2018 with a total cost of €29 million in various Egyptian universities, in addition to exchanging about 4000 staff-members, and Egyptian and European students in the different Egyptian and European universities for periods of 3-12 months in all scientific specialties: engineering, life sciences, energy, water, sustainable development, humanitarian sciences, etc. for different educational levels: BScs and post graduate studies. In addition, Egyptian universities have benefited from the programme in developing no less than 200 curricula in collaboration with peer European universities.  

The EU has praised the effective role of the National Office for EU Programme on Higher Education in raising awareness about the available opportunities through the programme in Egyptian universities and assisting all staff-members through the different stages to present the projects' proposals of and follow up on the implementation and managing the projects.

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What difference is there, do you think, between those in Plato's cave who can only marvel at the shadows and images of various objects, provided they are content and don't know what they miss, and the philosopher who has emerged from the cave and sees the real things?
   Desiderius Erasmus



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