The ECO Secretariat and ECO Educational Institute organized jointly the 2nd High Level University Representatives Forum virtually on December 20, 2023. Aiming at creating a high-level platform to discuss the challenges faced by international students in the ECO Region, the forum was attended by the Heads and Deputy Heads of universities and regional institutes as well as notable experts, scholars, professors and students.
In his opening remarks, the Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Kashif Zaman said that ECO attached immense importance to improved education standards in the region. He said that in today’s modern and globalized world where skills matter most and where artificial intelligence is shaping almost every aspect of life, education is a foundation for a prosperous future and a license to self-emancipation.He remarked that university campuses were an ideal place to learn from others and to understand their rich diversity.He said international students have to cope with multiple challenges in their new place of living, including language barriers, academics, social and cultural differences, discriminance, as well as emotional, financial and administrative issues. He said the students could overcome some of those challenges themselves through building relationships with host nationals and sharing experiences with other international students. He said most universities also offered language support programs which could be extremely beneficial for the international students. He further said that living independently offered students the opportunity to learn how to budget and manage money and in case of need for extra money the options of internships or part-time jobs could be explored. He also emphasized the need for creating an enabling environment by the universities within the campuses to help students adjust smoothly to their new place.
The President of ECO Educational Institute, Mr. Akif Kireçci, and the President of ECO Science Foundation, Seyed Komail Tayebi, in their statements, highlighted the role of scientific collaboration among the ECO Member States and the need for improved cooperation on visa and immigration, internships, employment, housing and other related issues.