In professional settings, the International Relations Office of the University of Duhok held a session with the officials of the UOD, including the President of the UOD, the Vice Presidents, deans, heads of the departments from all the colleges and other concerned parties; at the Convention Center, on November 22, 2023.
This session was set to identify the IRO, its work areas, goals, and missions. As well as to transfer the knowledge of topics such as fundraising, projects, international opportunities and internationalization of the university to the academic and administrative staffs of the UOD, to expand its visions so everyone can benefit from these opportunities.
The IRO plays a great role within the university, since it has been building relations with international parties and holding ties with higher education institutions worldwide. It was built in 2005. And it actually was settled in 2013, following the Office of the President. Since then, it participated in a large number of programs and served in internationalizing the university.
In this activity, first, a short video was shown defining the IRO where a number of the UOD members who got or obtained projects to the university participated in. Then, Dr. Rund Hammodie, the former IRO Director, accompanied by Dr. Nizar Ameen, the new IRO Director, gave an introduction on the role of the IRO. Dr. Rund clarified that from now on, this activity is going to be an annual one so once every year the outcomes of the IRO will be announced to the public. Also, Dr. Rund stated that the only university in Kurdistan and Iraq that could present joint bachelor degrees to its students is the UOD, and this is done by the efforts of the IRO.
After that, the light was shed on the concept of the Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) of the university. “Memoranda of Understandings that a university sign should not include financial commitments. They are merely to express the intention of the universities to collaborate and conduct joint works together with no identified financial commitments to bear by any party.” Said Dr. Nizar. The MoUs can help the university to get engaged in further projects and relations and adds credits to the university rankings. Yet. The absence if the MoUs does not mean the absence of actual projects. Knowing that the UOD has currently many MoUs with German, Italian, US, Iraqi, and Arab parties.
Further, the topics of how to initiate academic projects, and fundraising were shown in detail to the attendants. According to the IRO, the importance of fundraising and grants can be described in building capacity with different disciplines, facilitating different mobilities, enriching the university campus with new equipment, and serving the society. Some funders and opportunities the UOD is linked with are: USAID, European Union, World Bank, DAAD, NUFFIC, and others. In addition, one of the most important projects that the UOD engaged with is Erasmus + Program of the EU supporting education, training, youths, and scholarships.
Then, a list of funding opportunities websites was shown to the attendants so they can rely on. Also, the newly agreements of partnership that the UOD is to hold with international parties were revealed. Thay are: Glasgow Universuty, Birmingham University, Leiser University, Nottingham University, and Sussex University. The academic members of the UOD can explore these institutions websites looking for opportunities and grants.
The last part of this activity was spotlights to IRO successful activities presented by 4 UOD members that have worked in those projects. The President of the UOD took part in the closing remarks highlighting the importance of the relations to the university. “Without international relations, we will stay a local institution with no developments!” Said Dr. Dawood. He also mentioned that every specialization in our university can get opportunities abroad no matter what it is. Even the Kurdish language which is ours; there are specialized institutions abroad studying our language. In his speech, the president stressed on the colleges to support its staff members in gaining opportunities and projects and to aid them in what they need and follow up on their steps if they got any chance. Finally, he emphasized on developing the curricula of the colleges and that every college should determine a specialized committee for that aim to completely develop these curricula for the best versions.
For a special video about the Office of International Relations, please visit the link below;
UOD Media, November 23, 2023
Photo Credits: Mohammed Abdulkareem