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Central Asian Partnerships – New strategy for European Higher Education

Great opportunity for making partnerships, face to face discussions, an occasion for cooperation – these were the strengths of the Central Asian and Central European Higher Education Forum organised by the Hungarian Tempus Public Foundation (TPF), the Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education & Research (OeAD) and the Slovak Academic Association for International Cooperation (SAAIC) on 13-14 March in Almaty, the old capital of Kazakhstan.

The Central Asian and Central European Higher Education Forum was an international meeting point to discuss the topic of joint programmes, capacity building, the changes and benefits of Erasmus+ programme and possibilities of cooperation between the target regions. The event took place in the premises of Al-Farabi Kazakh National University. More than 100 participants from 13 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia took part in the event. After the Forum the participants had the possibility to visit three Kazakh higher education institutions and to discuss possibilities of partnerships. Finally, on 16 March, representatives of Hungarian higher education institutions exhibited on the a2 International Education Fair – the aim of the massive representation at the fair was to attract Kazakh students to come to study in Hungary.

TPF as ACA-member invited Ms. Queenie Lam, project officer at the Association to hold a presentation on the newly completed research on mobility windows. Probably the most bustling part of the event was the marketplace where the higher education institutions could introduce themselves in an informal way during face to face conversation. The success of the forum can be measured by newly established agreements, projects aiming at international project proposals in Erasmus+ and other actions. TPF and its partners gave their best expertise to enhance such activities.

Tempus Public Foundation is a non-profit organisation established by the Hungarian government with the task of managing international cooperation programmes and special projects in the field of education, training and EU-related issues. A special emphasis is put on the internationalisation of Hungarian higher education. TPF provides support for Hungarian institutions to participate in international events and fairs so as to enlarge their international relations. Visiting Kazakhstan was part of this strategy after the participation in fairs and events in Indonesia and Turkey, and in parallel with the visit of a Hungarian delegation to South Korea. In the near future TPF will continue such activities, e. g. by representing Hungarian higher education at NAFSA in San Diego, and other fairs in South America and EAIE in Prague this year.