Kurdish Independence in the Balance

Levant Education returned to Kurdistan last week in what might be called ‘challenging circumstances’.

Our usual UK education exhibition was reduced to a UK-focussed seminar delivered on 2 campuses, Salahadin University in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah University. Students appreciated the opportunity to learn about the university application process for the UK, and learned about SKOLA language schools – the only exhibitor brave enough to join us this time!

Maqsood Mohamed, David Mitchell, KRG Ministry of Higher Education
Maqsood Mohamed, David Mitchell, KRG Ministry of Higher Education

The security situation in these cities is stable and life continues normally on the surface. However people are living day to day while central government funding remains blocked due to a lack of agreement about oil revenue sharing between Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

 

Civil servants in the Education and other Ministries are being paid sporadically. Funding for the HCDP $120 million p.a. scholarship programme has also been hit, with many students already in the UK being adversely affected.

Currently KRG budgets rely on technically-illegal oil sales, and international loans based on future oil revenues. The Kurdish Regional Government is progressing plans to increase oil sales through a bigger pipeline to Ceyhan refinery in Turkey, which is expected to pump 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) before the end of the year. Assuming oil maintains a price of $80 per barrel, and the oil continues to find buyers, this represents an income of $32 million per day, or $1 billion per month.

Direct sales of oil from the Kurdish Region anger the national government in Baghdad, which claims that oil not sold through the State Organization for Marketing of Oil (SOMO) are illegal. It is unclear at the current time who is facilitating the oil sales through Ceyhan, or who is buying the oil. However it is known that Turkey is buying oil from IS in Iraq and Syria – IS oil sales now account for about 3.5 per cent of Turkey’s oil supply.

Oily sunset over Kirkuk
Oily sunset over Kirkuk

Meanwhile the KRG now also controls Kirkuk, which holds the 2nd largest oil deposits in Iraq. Tens of foreign oil companies are drilling in Kurdish Iraq, including Chevron and Exxon Mobil. Peshmerga forces are on their way to Kobane, with international support.

The Kurdish Regional Government is banking on a scenario whereby the international community, principally the US, has no choice but to see the economic and military cards the Kurds are holding, and to recognise Kurdistan as an independent state.

 

 

 

UK Education Tour or the British Council?

Levant Education presents a handy guide to choosing between the 2 events that are now on offer in Kurdistan, Iraq.

Images UKET Kurdistan

UK Education Tour

  • Successful UK-focussed exhibitions in Kurdistan since 2011
  • Feedback, references available – universities already signed up for OCT 2014
  • Free cancellation in the event of HCDP cancellation or security issues
  • Well known in the region by universities, government and students
  • Investing in local language teaching and enrolment support
  • Operated by Levant Education, a UK registered business
  • Suitable for direct recruitment or working with your agency
  • Independent company working with no ties to the UK government

British Council in Kurdistan

  • No exhibition experience
  • No track record or references
  • Event not confirmed
  • Pulled out of its Erbil teaching operation (last month)
  • Underwritten by UK taxpayer money
  • Complicated international network of business entities for tax efficiency (avoidance).
  • No experience in international HE marketing or recruitment
  • Part of British government foreign policy
  • A history of incompetence in exhibition administration

At the last UK Education Tour in Kurdistan, hotel event managers informed us that British Council staff had been in to visit, researching our events, our operations, how we put together our successful events. If you have to ask, you’ll never know…

Sign up for UK Education Tour Kurdistan here! 

 

New Government formed in Kurdistan 9 months after elections

Kurdish Government

Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region finally formed a new government yesterday after months of negotiations.

“Today we announce the formation of the government in complicated circumstances,” said Nechirvan Barzani, KRG Premier and the nephew of the region’s president.

The government includes members of the Goran (Change) movement, which had been in opposition until the September 2013 elections.

Previously, the government was formed by the historic duopoly of Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK of ailing Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

Negotiations have been ongoing since the regional parliamentary polls in September, as parties vied for power.

The members of the 8th Cabinet sworn into posts Wednesday include Dr Yusuf Guran as  Minister of Higher Education & Scientific Research.  The Ministry of Higher Education, which runs the Human Capacity Development Programme (HCDP) scholarships, remains in the hands of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party.

The male dominance of the new government drew criticism from women’s rights activists. Chiman Rasheed told KNNC that women in election campaigns of political parties play a major role, while they are forgotten during the division of KRG’s posts due to the patriarchal mentality of men in Kurdistan.

Chiman stated, “Political parties should answer the question of why they have many female members, yet they do not use women in key governmental positions.”

Chnar Saad Abdullah, a leading member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, said that the lack of women in the KRG’s eight cabinet violates human rights, and this patriarchal approach increases uncertainty between women and the KRG.

Links:

Kurdistan Parliament approves new KRG Cabinet

UK Education Tour Exhibition October 2014 Erbil & Suleymaniyah

 

Kurdish Iraq Autumn 2014 – Now Booking

In the Kurdish north of Iraq,  a stable security situation has led to a high level of economic and business development.  UK Education Tour has been working in Kurdistan since 2011 and has excellent local relationships. British-Kurdish relations are strong and British education has an excellent reputation for  the high quality of its university system, research, teaching and training.  Many government and industry leaders were educated in the UK.

Dr Govand Sherwani, KRG Director of HCDP Schoalrship Programme
Dr Govand Sherwani, KRG Director of HCDP Schoalrship Programme


Following more excellent events in 2013 and 2014, will be returning to Erbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan and one of the oldest continually-inhabited cities in the world. As well as the University of Salahaddin, there are several public and private universities in Erbil and surrounding cities. We will then travel to Sulaymaniyah, a vibrant commercial city in the east of the region, and home to the Univeristy of Sulaymaniyah.

UK Education Tour N. Iraq 2012
UK Education Tour N. Iraq 2012

The Human Capacity Development Program in Higher Education (HCDP) is an ambitious program that aims to develop human capacities in Kurdistan Region in the field of higher education. An annual KRG budget of one hundred and twenty billion dinars (GBP62 million) is allocated to the scheme. It provides an opportunity for thousands of distinguished young men and women to continue their education in internationally renowned universities.

We are currently awaiting the next round of HCDP scholarships – if they are not announced by October we will postpone the event and refund all registrations. The Iraq Education Initiative scholarship programme, HCED, run by the Iraqi government in Baghdad, aims to send 10,000 PG students abroad every year until 2015. Our events attract many students from all over Iraq.

Itinerary

Monday 6th October: Arrive Erbil
Transfers from Erbil International Airport will be arranged

Tuesday 7th October : Erbil International Hotel
Morning: UK Education Exhibiton
Afternoon: UK Education Exhibiton
Evening: UKET Dinner

Wednesday 8th October: Erbil International Hotel
Morning: UK Education Exhibition
Afternoon:
Transfer to Suleymaniyah
Evening: UKET dinner in Suleymaniyah.

Thursday 9th October Suleymaniyah
Morning: UK Education Exhibition
Afternoon: UK Education Exhibition
Evening: Free evening

Transfers to Suleymaniyah International Airport or Erbil International Airport will be arranged. 

 

==> Click here for More information and online registration <==

 

MoHE_erbil_web
“UKET is well organised and a well connected fair to the people in Kurdistan.
It is well known by the Ministry and has been running for some years which gives us confidence to attend the next one”. Kathryn Land, University of Portsmouth (Autumn 2013)


“Very worthwhile, well targeted and good fun”

Joanne Jacobs, University of Manchester.

“Very effective, well organised event. Well done!”
Nick Bradley, University of Swansea.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and will happily attend again”.
David Stoll, Aberdeen University.

“Exceptional organisation leading to a relaxed and convivial working atmosphere. Many students at both fairs ‘asked all the right questions’ and were genuinely seeking advice on their UK study plans!”
Sarah Byrne, Liverpool School of English.

“Another great event, especially the meeting with the Ministry of Higher Education”
Tim Kerr Dineen, Kings Colleges.

Azerbaijan Ministry of Education Updates Scholarship List

Number of Recognised UK Universities up to 40

Azerbaijan Scholarships
The official number of UK Universities permitted to receive Azerbaijan Government Sponsored students has been increased to 40 following a review by  the Ministry of Education.

The news comes as a relief to UK universities who last year were removed from the approved list, with no clear reason for the change, including the Universities of Warwick, Leicester and Aberdeen.

Universities met with the Ministry of Education during the Levant Education’s UK Education Tour in October, and efforts to reinstate UK universities have been ongoing from the universities, from Levant Education and the British Embassy in Baku.

UK Education Tour returns to Azerbaijan in April, with UK universities such as Manchester, Warwick, Newcastle and University of East Anglia looking forward to meeting UK-focussed students at the Fairmont Hotel in the famous flame towers of Baku.

The new Azerbaijan approved list of UK universities is as follows:

  1. Aston University
  2. Bristol University
  3. Cambridge University
  4. City University London
  5. Edinburgh University
  6. Heriot-Watt University
  7. Imperial College London
  8. King’s College London
  9. London Business School
  10. London International Film School
  11. London School of Economics
  12. Manchester University
  13. Oxford University
  14. Royal College of Art
  15. Royal Veterinary College
  16. School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
  17. University College London
  18. University of Aberdeen
  19. University of Bath
  20. University of Birmingham
  21. University of Cardiff
  22. University of Durham
  23. University of East Anglia
  24. University of Exeter
  25. University of Glasgow
  26. University of Lancaster
  27. University of Leeds
  28. University of Leicester
  29. University of Liverpool
  30. University of Loughborough
  31. University of Newcastle
  32. University of Nottingham
  33. University of Queen Mary
  34. University of Royal Holloway
  35. University of Sheffield
  36. University of Southampton
  37. University of St. Andrews
  38. University of Surrey
  39. University of Warwick
  40. University of York 

UK Education Tour

Kurdish Iraq Spring 2014 – Now Booking

In the Kurdish north of Iraq,  a stable security situation has led to a high level of economic and business development.  British-Kurdish relations are strong and British education has an excellent reputation for  the high quality of its university system, research, teaching and training.  Many government and industry leaders were educated in the UK.

MoHE_erbil_web
“UKET is well organised and a well connected fair to the people in Kurdistan.
It is well known by the Ministry and has been running for some years which gives us confidence to attend the next one”. Kathryn Land, University of Portsmouth (Autumn 2013)


Following more excellent events in 2013, will be returning to Sulaymaniyah, a vibrant commercial city in the east of the region, and home to the Univeristy of Sulaymaniyah. We will then head to Erbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan and one of the oldest continually-inhabited cities in the world. As well as the University of Salahaddin, there are several public and private universities in Erbil and surrounding cities.

UK Education Tour N. Iraq 2012
UK Education Tour N. Iraq 2012

The Human Capacity Development Program in Higher Education (HCDP) is an ambitious program that aims to develop human capacities in Kurdistan Region in the field of higher education. An annual KRG budget of one hundred and twenty billion dinars (GBP62 million) is allocated to the scheme. It provides an opportunity for thousands of distinguished young men and women to continue their education in internationally renowned universities.

Up to 2000 students will be sponsored to study abroad in 2013/14. Furthermore, the Iraq Education Initiative scholarship programme, run by the Iraqi government in Baghdad, aims to send 10,000 PG students abroad every year until 2015.

“The event provided an excellent opportunity to network effectively with Ministerial and institutional staff, to meet and understand more fully the needs of some ambitious and talented students”.Jeremy Burgess, Warwick University (Kurdistan, October 2012).
“The event provided an excellent opportunity to network effectively with Ministerial and institutional staff, to meet and understand more fully the needs of some ambitious and talented students”.
Jeremy Burgess, Warwick University (Kurdistan, October 2012).


Schedule

Tuesday 4th MarchSulaymaniyah

Afternoon: Briefing, Exhibition
Evening: UKET Dinner, Suleymaniyah

Wednesday 5th March: Erbil International Hotel
Morning: Scenic drive to Erbil
Afternoon: UKET Official Opening, Exhibition
Evening: UKET Dinner

Thursday 6th March: Erbil International Hotel
Morning: UK Education Exhibition
Afternoon: UK Education Exhibition

==> Click for More information and online registration <==


“Very worthwhile, well targeted and good fun”

Joanne Jacobs, University of Manchester.

“Very effective, well organised event. Well done!”
Nick Bradley, University of Swansea.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and will happily attend again”.
David Stoll, Aberdeen University.

“Exceptional organisation leading to a relaxed and convivial working atmosphere. Many students at both fairs ‘asked all the right questions’ and were genuinely seeking advice on their UK study plans!”
Sarah Byrne, Liverpool School of English.

“Another great event, especially the meeting with the Ministry of Higher Education”
Tim Kerr Dineen, Kings Colleges.

“Well organised on the day and the UKET team were friendly and supportive. I think the events were effective and would consider doing them again”.
Siobhan Robinson, Cardiff  Metropolitan University