To strengthen CIIT’s linkages with Germany and further engage with the German Embassy in Islamabad, the newly appointed German Ambassador, Mr. Martin Kobler, along with his Cultural Counsellor, Burghard Brinksmeier, visited CIIT on Monday 12th March 2018. The visit was split into two parts: meeting with the Rector, Deans, Principal Officers and the faculty members who trained in the German universities; and in the second phase, a heart-to-heart talk to the young students and faculty members on his personal experiences of traveling through Pakistan.
The meeting commenced with a power-point presentation about CIIT, its origins, rapid growth, rankings, research focus and its internationalization activities with special reference to Germany. The Rector then highlighted CIIT's multi-faceted and multi-dimensional cooperation with Germany which include mobilities under EMMA/Erasmus Programs, faculty/student visits, academic and research collaborations, joint projects, and joint programs. He said that CIIT is collaborating with leading German universities like Heidelberg University, University of Bonn, University of Rostock, University of Saarland and others.
Learning about the level of cooperation with German institutions, the German Ambassador enquired about how CIIT compared its cooperation with German institutions via a vis the other countries. He also enquired about how the relations could be further improved. The Dean Sciences and Dean Engineering replied that UK and US had remained popular destinations because of historical and language connections but Germany is now becoming a destination of choice for higher studies and research mainly because there is no tuition fee and more and more programs are now available in English language; and also because of the level of industry-academia linkages in Germany.
The Rector then sought support from the German Embassy in the already existing mobilities and introduction to new German universities, and in helping set up a CIIT campus in collaboration with a German University. The Ambassador responded that before he can convince a German university to come he first needs to find attachment opportunities for German faculty in the Pakistani universities like CIIT. This meeting concluded with exchange of mementoes and a group photograph.
The second segment of the program was the candid talk of the German Ambassador to the student and faculty audience. The German Ambassador said that since his arrival six months ago he has been reaching out to the Pakistani community and discovering Pakistan. He said that Pakistanis are kind and hospitable people and they have all resources that one could ever desire. All that is needed is proper image projection and better management. He said for this reason, the present focus of his embassy is on three areas, i.e. Youth and education, Modern Economy and Climate change and Energy.
Youth & education is critically important for Pakistan as its major chunk of population is young. The number of youth will further increase as Pakistan’s population will double at its 100th anniversary. In this scenario the youth have to be trained and developed to be able to contribute effectively to the welfare of Pakistani society.
Modern economy dictates that Pakistan starts producing goods of high value and start competing with other developed economies. The Ambassador said that if Pakistanis could produce nuclear bomb, so there is absolutely no reason that it can't excel in civil technologies. Climate change and Energy is also important as the future can't be secured without addressing climate issues and energy requirements. The Ambassador said that in Germany a major portion of energy is derived from renewables, Pakistan can do the same. The German Ambassador emphasized the need to change the perception of Pakistan. He said that though this is not his job, he is trying hard to do this through different means to convince the Germans that it is safe to visit and do business in Pakistan.
He further said that the Pakistanis have to come forward and reset their mindset and realize that only they themselves can change the negative perception about their country. He added, yes he can help, but it is for the Pakistanis themselves to take charge.
The student audience took keen interest in the talk through very active and animated Q & A with the Ambassador. The Q & A was moderated by the Head IO who kept on urging the students, especially the girls to ask questions. The talk and the visit ended with the presentation of a shield and a group photograph.
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