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AIT Trip to the Netherlands Leads to MoU with UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education

AIT Trip to the Netherlands Leads to MoU with UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education

On 15 June 2007, AIT signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UNESCO-IHE to pave the way for collaboration between AIT and UNESCO-IHE in areas of water education, research, capacity building and training, staff and faculty exchange, partnership building, and dual degree programmes. The Institute is the largest water education facility in the world, and the only institution in the UN system authorised to confer accredited MSc degrees.

The MoU signing took place at the venue for the symposium on "Water for the Changing World: Enhancing Local Knowledge" on the occasion of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of UNESCO-IHE, which was attended by AIT President Said Irandoust and Vice President for Development and Resources Dr. Khin Ni Ni Thein, during their mission to the Netherlands.

The MoU signing was also graced by The Prince of Orange HRH Willem-Alexander; Mr. Marcio Barbosa, Deputy Director General of UNESCO; Hon. Maria Mutagamba, Minister of State for Water of Uganda and Chair of the African Minister's Council on Water (MCOW) and other dignitaries which included H.E. Abdul Rahman Fadhl Al-Eryan, Minister of Water & Environment, Republic of Yemen; Dr. Roestam Sjarief, Secretary General of the Ministry of Public Works of Indonesia, Mr. Kyul Ho Kwak, President of K-Water, and former Minister of South Korea; Mr. Jacques Labre, Vice President of SUEZ; Mr. Ng Han Tong, Managing Director of Singapore Public Utility Board; senior representatives from ADB, the World Bank, UNEP and the World Water Council among others.

Earlier on 14 June, the AIT President and Vice President for Development and Resources met with Mr. Arjan Schuthof, Head Education and Development Division, and Mr. Hillard Tempelman, Policy Officer, Education and Development, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Prof. Richard Meganck, Rector and Director of UNESCO-IHE; Director of the Partnership for Water Education and Research (PoWER) and Prof. dr. ir. Jacob Fokkema, Rector of the Technical University of Delft (TU Delft) http://www.tudelft.nl. A programmatic approach for long-term partnership building was discussed at the Ministry and they have agreed to further work on the modalities and develop a collaborative framework. TU Delft expressed keen interest in collaborating with AIT and both institutes agreed to jointly identify specific areas in which there could be partnerships.

The AIT delegation also had a meeting with two AIT alumni living in the Netherlands, namely Dr. Guang Ye, Assistant Professor, Microlab, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and Mr. Mukesh Sethi, Financial Analyst, who is working for the Shell Company.

During 17-19 June, Vice President Ni Ni participated in the PoWER founder members' meeting as an observer representing AIT during which AIT's application to join PoWER was considered and unanimously approved. Membership in the global PoWER network will enable AIT to further enhance its thematic research area in water through research and training in Asia together with its other partners.

She also met with the senior representatives from the World Bank Institute (WBI) and followed up on some of initiatives discussed earlier this year with WBI. Officials from WBI will be visiting AIT during the second week of October 2007 to discuss further collaboration. She also met with Mr. Peter Kassen, Director Asia Pacific, WL Delft Hydraulics, http://www.wldelft.nl and explored the possibility of guest lecturers and professors from WL Delft visiting AIT and collaborations in research and special projects.