The Pakistani and Chinese universities collaborating under the CPEC Consortium of Universities will generate ideas leading to the development of both the countries, as universities are the nurseries of ideas. This was stated by Dr. Fateh Marri, Executive Director, Higher Education Commission (HEC) while addressing the closing ceremony of the two-day 3rd Annual Conference of CPEC Consortium of CPEC Universities held under the aegis of HEC at Jinnah Convention Centre, Islamabad.
The conference, held under the theme of Academic Collaboration for Sustainable Partnerships, reviewed the progress and pledged to reinforce the efforts to achieve the objectives of the Consortium.
Dr. Marri underlined that ideas are the most important part of the initiatives taken for the uplift of nations, adding that the Consortium has provided the member universities with a great opportunity to jointly work on the issues of bilateral interest. He underlined that Pakistan and China enjoy cordial relations with their bilateral friendship rightly considered higher than the Himalayas. The Consortium will further deepen the bilateral relations between Pakistan and China, he added.
He informed the participants that HEC accords high value to the Consortium, as it has established a dedicated unit on CPEC. He highlighted the importance of research universities, infrastructure and connectivity, water and food security, and Special Economic Zones which were discussed in the conference proceedings.
Congratulating the conference organisers, he said the credit of holding the successful 3rd Annual Conference goes to CAHE, HEC, and the partner universities.
In his remarks, Mr. Guan Peijun, Vice President, CAHE, stressed the need for further expanding the collaborative efforts being made under the Consortium. He underlined that the weak points of Exchange Mechanism must be identified and overcome. The operational efficiency of the Consortiums needs to be worked on so as to further strengthen it, he emphasised.
Earlier, Dr. Safdar Ali Shah, Director General CPEC, HEC shared an overview of the activities carried out under the Consortium for the period of November 2018 to October 2019. He said that a Document of Understanding was signed in November 2018 on establishment of China-Pakistan Joint Research Centre on Earth Sciences. The PC-I of the project is in the process of approval. In this regard, that the Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment held a training workshop in Quaid-e-Azam University which was attended by faculty members and postgraduate students from across the country. He informed the audience that 10 universities of the Consortium had organized 117 visits to China and received 67 from China, adding that they also signed 61 MoUs with different Chinese universities. He maintained that in addition to organising collaborative trainings, hundreds of scholarships were won by Pakistani universities.
Dr. Jiang Enlai, Secretary General CAHE, said the past year witnessed great progress in the communication and cooperation among the member universities of the Consortium. Exchanges were held at the deep level in fields such as cultivation of talents, scientific research, and faculty communication. He said faculty cooperative training programmes have been established and the member universities have successfully started cooperative trainings with fruitful results.
On the occasion, the moderators of focus groups on Infrastructure and Connectivity, Water and Food Security, Energy Security and Special Economic Zones, and Cultural and Social Cooperation shed light on the ground realities, challenges, and possible solutions. The event also included an international conference on higher education, and a Science, Arts and Technology Exhibition.
The CPEC Consortium of Universities was founded in Islamabad in August 2017 as “CPEC Consortium of Business Schools” to promote business-to-business linkages between China and Pakistan and help study relocation of Chinese businesses in the planned industrial parks in Pakistan under CPEC. The initiative was launched under the auspices of HEC and China Association of Higher Education (CAHE). However, the scope of the Consortium was enhanced to cover all major domains of higher education and currently more than 50 universities from the two countries are a part of the Consortium.
The closing ceremony was attended by a large number of delegates from Chinese universities and faculty members of Pakistani universities. The visitors took keen interests in the Exhibition set up by Pakistani and Chinese universities on the sidelines of the conference.