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Initiative to establish a Network of Universities and Local Authorities by the Municipality of Paphos

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For the first time in Cyprus, but also in the wider region, a local authority, the Municipality of Paphos, is taking the initiative to establish and operate a Network of Universities and Local Authorities that will unite under the same vision and the same goals the academic community, the new generation and the Local Government of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

The Founding Assembly of the newly established Network with the name "Regional Network of Universities and Cities" (Regional Network of Universities and Cities) took place on Tuesday afternoon at the Pafos Innovation Center in Paphos. The initiative belongs to the Mayor of Paphos Phaidonas Phaidonos, who presided over the Founding Assembly.

In the first meeting at the Pafos Innovation Center, the American University of Beirut, the University of Alexandria, the University of Jordan, the Birzeit University of Palestine, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Cyprus University of Technology participated as founding members. In addition, the University of Neapolis Paphos participated as a cooperating partner.

The founding assembly of the newly established network was attended by the Mayor of Amman, the Mayor of Thessaloniki, the Governor of Alexandria, the Governor of Beirut. and the Deputy Mayor of Bethlehem.

In his statements, Mr. Phaidonos sent the message that this network will not be a network of announcements but of the implementation of specific proposals and actions. As he mentioned, it is a station of a course that started some years ago and today it is becoming a reality as a network between cities and universities.

Indicatively, he noted that six cities, which have a population of 11.5 million and six universities with a total of 350,000 students, are today joining forces so that the local authorities can support and promote, as he said, the universities with a closer cooperation, with with the sole purpose of upgrading the quality of the university education offered, as well as synergies, which through this collaboration can be seen as beneficial both for the societies and the cities, as well as for the countries from which the six cities and the six universities come.

Asked about this, Mr. Phaidonos replied that practically in the area where we live there are some common problems and common challenges, citing as examples the lack of water and resources, climate change and the environment, but also issues related to the flight of young people with good studies. These issues, he continued, "will occupy us in the immediate future without big words, without many announcements, but with concrete steps", while he mentioned as an example the development of joint postgraduate programs between universities, always with the support of the cities.< /p>

Mr. Phaidonos also said that a challenge of the time is innovation and technology, something that they will tackle in order to examine, as he said, how they can work together to establish some Regional Innovation Centers in the region and attract large companies that spend large amounts for innovation and research issues to come to the region and be the cause of repatriating good minds with good studies who work abroad but are originally from these countries.

He finally stated that the ultimate and ambitious goal of the network is "the promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East".

For his part, the Mayor of Thessaloniki Konstantinos Zervas said that the excellent work being done by the Municipality and the Mayor of Paphos in the area of ​​university education today is developing into the creation of a network between important cities of the Southeastern Mediterranean.

He added that six important universities and six important cities, among them Thessaloniki, which is a university campus and which benefits from the presence of students and the presence of the academic community, are today starting an important collaboration in order to join forces. He also sent the message that nowadays no one can walk alone, while he called the presence of these networks, the exchange of good practices, the use of financial tools and knowledge to improve everyday life and the quality of life of the citizen important.< /p>

The Regional Network of Universities and Cities will have its permanent headquarters in Paphos, thus strengthening the role of the city as a center of knowledge, innovation and culture in the wider region. As mentioned, the Network is an essential step towards the active connection and cooperation of universities and their host cities to promote education, entrepreneurship and innovation in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East region, while it is the shared belief of all of founding members is the fact that Education is the cornerstone for the development of culture, progress and well-being of peoples and societies.

The main objectives of the Network are the dissemination and development of high quality Higher Education, the promotion of synergies and targeted actions for the dissemination of knowledge and experience, as well as the creation of new opportunities for economic growth and progress.

In addition, the Network will provide incentives and opportunities to reverse the outflow of excellent graduates abroad and the repatriation of scientists who come from the member countries and today excel at the international level, while through Education and Training the members of the Network also expect to play an important role in creating and consolidating conditions of peace, stability, sustainable development and prosperity in the region.

Source: KYPE 

Source: www.sigmalive.com

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