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Two Days Himalayan University Consortium Strategic Workshop

Department of Development Studies, 28-29 October 2013

Three days strategic workshop of the Himalayan University Consortium (HUC) on “Strengthening Educational and Research Collaboration among the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) Universities for Promoting Sustainable Mountain Development in the HKH Region” was jointly organized by CIIT Abbottabad and ICIMOD Nepal on 28-30 October, 2013 at CIIT Abbottabad, Pakistan.

The primary goal of the workshop was to catalyze, facilitate, and accelerate interdisciplinary exchange, discussions and collaboration among the HUC members with the aim of creating a common educational and research development agenda using the platform of the HUC. The objective of the workshop was to bring together higher officials and academicians from the Himalayan universities to initiate a constructive discussion on the issues of effective collaboration and networking among the Himalayan Universities.

More 70 international and national scholars and delegates attend the workshop. International delegates from Universities and research institutes from Bangladesh, China, Germany, Nepal, Norway, United Kingdom and ICOMOD participated in the workshop. The Vice Chancellors and representatives of the Universities and research institutes in Pakistan particularly from the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), University of Haripur, University of Swat, University of AJK, Karakuram International University, Shaheed Benazeer Bhutto University Shringal, NARC and Institute of Space Technology (IST) Karachi actively participated in the workshop.

Dr. Haroon Rashid (S. I.) Pro-Rector CIIT was the chief guest in the opening ceremony of the workshop. Addressing the gathering, he highlighted the potential and significance of the HUC and the workshop and how it is in line with the CIIT Abbottabad vision which is at the gateway to HKH. Dr. Haroon Rashid mentioned CIIT contribution to society in general and to sustainable mountain development in particular. He also announces Rs. 1 million for HUC secretariat as seed money and 10 PhD and MS scholarships for HUC member’s universities.

Ms. Anja Moller Rasmussen, Senior Manager, ICIMOD presented the objectives of the HUC and the workshop in Abbottabad. Prof. Dr. Mathias Winiger Ex-Rector University of Bonn, Germany highlighted the potential threats to Himalayan glaciers melting and how it could affect the surface and groundwater regime and its impact on agriculture sector. He also emphasize on the role of academia in understanding the environmental dynamics of the upper Indus Basin. Prof. Martin Price, UNESCO Chairholder, UK shares his experience of joining of other similar university consortium and how to run a joint online degree program. Prof. Dr. Long Ruijun, Director, International Centre for Tibetan Plateau Ecosystem Management, Lanzhou University, presented the strategy for HUC and how to make it vibrant and active forum.

Dr. Bahadar Nawab Khattak, CIIT Abbottabad presented the action plan for HUC. He also proposed that each university should initially contribute to HUC to make it a regional and active forum. Dr. Philippus Wester Senior Scientist, ICIMOD presented the survey of HUC members and potential new members on who is doing what in research and education. Prof Bishal Sitaula, Norwegian University of Life Sciences has virtual presentation on Need for Transformation in Education and Research in changing climate and sustainable Development. Mr. Farid Ahmad Head Strategic Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, ICIMOD help support the participants in their group work on finalizing the strategy and action plan for HUC. In the closing ceremony Prof. Dr. Shahid Khattak, Director CIIT Abbottabad reiterated the interest and continuous support of CIIT to ICIMOD, HUC and all member Universities for revitalizing the HUC. He also offered CIIT interest in joint collaboration with ICIMOD and other HUC members.

Dr. Shahid Khattak thanks all the delegates and particularly the ICIMOD officials for their support in organizing the strategic workshop at Abbottabad Campus of the CIIT. The workshop ended with a positive note. The outcomes/report of the workshop will be shared with the HUC members and will be presented to ICIMOD Board meeting for consideration.

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