By Asif Sakhi
ISLAMABAD: International University of Kyrgyzstan (IUK) has awarded the designation of Honorary Professor to Bibi Yasmin, the Additional Registrar of Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU).
Prof. Yasmin is, perhaps, the first educationist from Gilgit-Baltistan to receive the honorary degree from an international university. She received the degree from noted Academician, Prof Dr Asylbek A. Aidaraliev, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, IUK and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Kyrgyzstan at a ceremony held the central campus of IUK, Bishkek on October 16 in recognition of her role in promoting cooperation between the two universities.
“It was a memorable moment and honour for me to earn this laurel and represent Pakistan at an international event,” commented Prof Yasmin while talking to the media.
She spoke in details about her week-long visit to the Central Asian Republic, and activities and the signing of a MoU on behalf of the AIOU with IUK.
“I was impressed by the advancement of the Kyrgyz society, their culture, art, hospitality and respect for law,” she said. Kygyzstan has made great strides in every sphere of life but have also preserved their traditions and cultural identity. There are numerous libraries and museums where they have preserved their ancient history and artifacts. The communication, public transport, health and education system and central heating system provided to every citizen are amazing. Another thing that inspired me was their respect for their intellectuals, academicians and literary personalities. One can find statues of Changez Aitmatov, one of the greatest novelists of the world and Manas, Kyrgyz national hero. A park has been fully dedicated for exhibition of the writer’s statues and the characters from his novels near Issyk-Kul Lake, 280km from capital city and third deepest lake in the world. It was like visiting my own native area as there are great similarities between Gilgit-Baltistan and Kyrgyzstan: the two countries have similar topography; Kyrgyzstan’s 90% area is comprised of mountains just like GB; people are very friendly, and warmth. The presence of women in all public places and offices is remarkable which shows the progress of the egalitarian society, she said.
The MoU signing was part of an international conference on the occasion of the Anniversary Decade, dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Academic Consortium of the International University of Kyrgyzstan held at Bishkek, the capital city from October 10 to 20, 2018. About the cooperation between Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan, she said, it was part of the protocol signed at the third meeting of Kyrgyz-Pakistan Intergovernmental Commission at Islamabad on January 11, 2017 to establish cooperation in the sphere of public health, tourism, culture, education, science and technology, agriculture and food safety, information and broadcasting. Under the MoU both sides will identify the areas for linkages, cooperation and academic research and to foster a collaborative framework between the two universities with a view to benefit from each other’s initiatives. The two countries will encourage contact and cooperation between their faculties and administrations, she added.
On 14th October, Kyrgyz-Pakistan International Institute of Medical Sciences and the Kyrgyz-Pakistan Institute of Distance Education were inaugurated. The two institutes have been set up within the framework of the implementation of the protocol of the third meeting of the Kyrgyz-Pakistan Intergovernmental Commission. Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, Ambassador of Pakistan to Kyrgyzstan opened the ceremony of both institutes in the Eastern Campus of IUK. He congratulated IUK and AIOU and expressed his hope that it will benefit the two countries in the fields and academic and research work. He assured his full cooperation in running the institutes sustainably and further enhancing bilateral ties between the two countries. Five delegates from AIOU and Ripha Internal University along with other delegates from 16 countries attended the event.
The participating delegates held a meeting with the Minister of Education and Education, Kyrgyzstan and the MoU signing ceremony was attended by the representatives of Ministries of Health, foreign Affairs, Finance, Economy and President of the National Academy of Sciences Kyrgyzstan. At the international conference on “Globalisation of Education and Research: New Technologies” held at National Academy of Sciences on October 11, I made a presentation on the “Experience of functioning of AIOU.
“I also chaired a roundtable discussion on “Work Project of Kyrgyz-Pakistani Institute of Distance Learning — Problems and Prospects.” The discussants were Zahid Majeed, Assistant Professor and Director for International Collaboration and Exchange Programmes, AIOU, who spoke on “Distance Learning in Pakistan: Development Experience and Prospects” and A.K. Narkoziev, Vice-President, Academic Council of IUK”.
Representatives of the Pakistan embassy and Kyrgyz universities also participated in the discussion. The IUK was established in 1993 by the Kyrgyz Ministry of Education and Science, the Kyrgyz National Academy of Sciences and the San-Francisco State University (USA). The IUK has six educational institutions, four colleges, five research institutes and three production complexes. The enrolment of student is 13,103 including 122 PhD students, 357 master’s degree 8,656 bachelor degree students including 5,694 foreign students; 3,118 secondary vocational education students 850 primary vocational education students.