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The Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, Mikheil Chkhenkeli held an introductory meeting with the Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to Georgia, Thomas Mühlmann and discussed ways to expand cooperation in the field of higher education and science.
The parties briefly mentioned the activities carried out in their countries during the pandemic, both in general education and higher education institutions. The Minister emphasized importance to follow the health recommendations and thus prevent the further spread of the virus.
Furthermore, Mikheil Chkhenkeli thanked Thomas Mühlmann for the fruitful cooperation and discussed the possibilities of implementing new projects. The main mega-project of the Georgian education system - Kutaisi International University and its future development prospects were also discussed during the meeting. The Minister noted that the author of the idea and the entire concept of the university belongs to Mr. Bidzina Ivanishvili. It was as a result of his and his family's extremely important charity that a world-wide academic and scientific-research space emerged in the country.
Additionally, Mikheil Chkhenkeli noted that the first academic year is currently underway at Kutaisi International University. The university started off its operation with three programs created in analogy to the programs of the University of Munich. A similar approach will continue in the coming years, and new academic programs will be created in collaboration with the world’s leading universities. According to the Minister, the implementation of joint programs with Austrian universities is open to discussion.
Moreover, Mikheil Chkhenkeli emphasized that the increase of the degree of internationalization in Kutaisi International University is conditioned by the involvement of foreign professors in the educational process. In addition, the Supervisory Board, whose members are world-renowned scientists in their field, plays an important role in the development of the University. According to the Minister, this kind of international cooperation contributes to the success of Kutaisi International University and the involvement of important international scientific circles in the field of oncology and proton therapy at the Hadron Therapy Centre. Numerous foreign scientists have already expressed their desire to conduct scientific-research activities at the centre together with Georgian specialists. This process will begin with the development of state-of-the-art cyclotrons, which are manufactured and assembled by the world's leading manufacturer of cancer proton therapy equipment - IBA. According to the Minister, Austrian scientists will also have the opportunity to work on the cyclotron for scientific research.
Minister Mikheil Chkhenkeli invited the Austrian Ambassador to visit the campus of Kutaisi International University. The Ambassador expressed readiness to visit the University and cooperate in any way possible.
The meeting at the Ministry of Education and Science was also attended by the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Austria Alexander Carner.