President of the Helsinki University Board of Trustees Tarja Halonen, former Foreign Minister Mohamed El-Orabi and Ambassador of Finland Laura Kansikas (Photo by Nasr Attiya)
The Regional Information Technology and Software Engineering Centre (RITSEC), and the Finnish Embassy in Cairo launched a new initiative supporting the development of information and knowledge society and technology transfer from the north to the Arab world and Africa.
To celebrate the launch of the Regional Knowledge and Innovation Initiative, Finnish Ambassador to Egypt Laura Kansikas-Debraise hosted a reception in her residence this week.
The event, reported a Finland Embassy in Cairo statement, was attended by the Finnish delegation headed by Tarja Halonen, the chairman of the board of Trustees of Helsinki University and former president of the Republic of Finland.
In addition to several prominent Egyptian education officials present were President of the RITSEC Hisham El-Sherif, former Minister of Family and Population and former Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Moushira Khattab, Minister of Military Production Mohamed Al-Assar, former Foreign Minister Mohamed El-Orabi along with a galaxy of media representatives.
In collaboration with the RITSEC, two meetings were held in Cairo; the Egyptian-Finnish Education Forum and the Egyptian-Finnish University Education Forum.
On 7 September, a joint forum was held with the Ministry of Education, led by Tarek Shawki, the Minister of Education and Technical Education.
The following day another joint forum with the Ministry of Higher Education, hosted by Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, was held in the attendance of a high-level Finnish delegation from Helsinki University and other Finnish education specialists.
The inaugural ceremony was attended by Halonen, Kansikas-Debraise, El-Sherif, and a high-level Finnish education delegation including Leena Krokfors from the Faculty of Educational Sciences, the University of Helsinki.
An agreement was signed between the Regional IT Institute (RITI), and the University of Helsinki to help in the transfer of Finland's successful practices and models to the Arab world and Africa through a newly established Cairo-based “Finnish Regional Knowledge and Innovation Centre”.
The agreement should serve the efforts to build knowledge-based economies, digital societies, creative initiatives and societal innovation in both Africa and the Arab world via Cairo.
The Cairo based Finnish Regional Knowledge and Innovation Centre will have several targets such as the transfer of international experience in the field of scientific and educational excellence, supporting and contributing to leading initiatives in education (early childhood, school and special needs), and the encouragement of scientific exchange and missions.
For decades, Finland has been one of the leading countries in the field of education. Helsinki University is the leading university in Finland and the world's first in the field of education.
Since the early 1990s, the regional centre has been the leader in the introduction of technology, Internet and the initiative of the information society to Egypt, the Arab world and Africa.