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PLIQ network meeting in Dortmund


Coordination meeting in Dortmund
By Robert Zapp, Dec 2011

By the end of the first project period (2009-2011), representatives of the Iraqi partner universities and the TU Dortmund University met in Dortmund for another coordination meeting. During the final conference of the meeting, the pliq partners signed a new agreement - the cooperation will be continued.


From 16th to 22nd December 2011, pliq partners from the University of Dohuk, the University of Diyala and the University of Mosul were welcomed by their German hosts in Dortmund. During the first two days, they explored Dortmund and the Ruhr Area together. After that, three days of intensive evaluation of the pliq-programme took place and the next steps for the upcoming three years were scheduled.

As "pliq" means "planning education for Iraq", there were some serious planning subjects to be dicussed. The final planning and coordination meeting took place in a lively and comfortable atmosphere. The cooperation partners were looking back at the first steps that had already been taken. One of the questions was for example, if the 11 Bachelor students who came from Iraq to Germany to study Spatial Planning in Dortmund could cope with their challenges well.

Also, new goals for the upcoming three years of support by the DAAD (2012-2014) were defined and the programme schedule between 2012 and 2014 was discussed. Further possibilities for joint short-term and long-term research projects were elaborated.


Meeting with the Iraqi students

  Near the end of their stay, the partners from the Iraqi universities were able to meet with some of the 11 Iraqi students who form the pilot group participating in the scholarship programme. Some of them have already begun their Bachelor of Science studies at the Faculty of Spatial Planning.The others recently have passed their German language exams. So, the Iraqi students could inform themselves about the progress of the whole project and the representatives of the Iraqi universities could see how the daily cooperation works out for the students who were chosen for studying in Germany.


Joint signature of the cooperation agreement

A very important moment was the joint signature of the contract for further cooperation. It was signed by Prof. Dr. Metin Tolan, Vicerector of TU Dortmund, Prof. Christa Reicher, Dean of the Faculty of Spatial Planning, and the President of Dohuk University, Dr. Asmat M. Khalid.

After his signature Khalid mentioned that "it is important that this agreement which we signed today is not one for the shelf but one which will be filled with activity."

Prof. Dr. Einhard Schmidt-Kallert, Head of the International Spatial Planning Centre (ISPC) declared, that "it is a pleasure and a challenge to develop visions for a peaceful development of cities, of the countryside and of a good, functioning rural interface in Iraq. The country has to find its own way into the future and we as German partners are ready to help and to share our experiences." The main goal of the pliq programme which is fixed in the new agreement is, that a bachelor degree programme for spatial planning shall be established in Iraq. Tolan is sure that "if the first step has been successful, the next steps will be successful, too".


Friendly atmosphere for further cooperation

In a nutshell, the coordination meeting has been successful for all parties. "I'm so glad that we had this meeting in Dortmund and I'm so happy that I just can't find the right words. I think, this cooperation is a huge step towards improving development in Iraq", Ahmed Sabah Naser Al-Edresi, one of the Iraqi students, said after the conference.Dr. Layla Rasnol from Dohuk University also showed her satisfaction: "One year ago, it was my dream to be part of this cooperation and today it is a very emotional moment for me. I'm very glad and I hope we will achieve our goals and be able to pursue the projects."


Photos by Robert Zapp