Monday 8 - Friday 12 November 2021, the Iraqi Minister for Higher Education & Scientific Research and 6 University Presidents with a delegation of scientists, will stay in Wageningen for a prominent working visit. Efficient water management, climate smart agriculture and institutional capacity strengthening, including the implementation of a Gender Equality Plan, international partnerships and curriculum features to optimize labour and career opportunities, are part of the programme of the six universities in Iraq led by Wageningen University & Research Centre (WUR ), as part of the Orange Knowledge Program that is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by Nuffic in The Hague. Besides WUR, IHE Delft and ICRA take part in the programme with the six Iraqi universities.
This unique exchange will be opened on Monday 8 November in the presence of Prof Dr Nabil Abdul Sahib, Iraq Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research; Dr Hisham Al Alawi, Ambassador of Iraq to the Netherlands; Merel de Koninck of the Dutch embassy in Iraq; Titia Bredée, director-general of Nuffic, and Bram de Vos, WUR director Environmental Sciences, and Coen Ritsema, WUR professor and project leader. After an overview has been given of the importance and the successes of this collaboration so far, the university presidents will sign the Gender Equality Plan for their university as designed together with their newly established gender teams. These outline for each university how they will enact gender mainstreaming to advance gender equality in their universities. After a workshop by Peter Jongebloed, WUR Grant Office, about acquiring and streamlining international partnerships and project collaboration within the university, the Monday will be concluded with a market in which about twenty educational institutions and research institutes have been invited to get to know the six universities and to identify possible new partnerships.
The rest of the week offers many more workshops, such as on how the curriculum can optimally prepare students for their profession and increase their career opportunities, with a presentation about WUR as an example by Arnold Bregt, WUR Dean of Education. A visit to IHE Delft shows the Iraq visitors their water management projects in Iraq and how these can be linked to labour and project opportunities. Furthermore, there are workshops and training courses led by ICRA, WUR and IHE for curriculum development and research design on the aforementioned themes, leadership options and gender mainstreaming. At the end of the week, we look back together and discuss further integration and reinforcement.