On June 15, 2017, a meeting was held between the Executive Director COMSATS, Dr. S. M. Junaid Zaidi, and the Ambassador of the Republic of Tunisia to Pakistan, H. E. Mr. Adel Elarbi at the Embassy of Tunisia, Islamabad. Mr. Tajammul Hussain, Advisor (Programmes) was among the senior officials accompanying Dr. Zaidi.
Dr. Zaidi and H.E. Mr. Elarbi had similar views on developing further cooperation and partnerships between COMSATS and Tunisia, particularly in boosting academic cooperation between Tunisian S&T institutions and members of COMSATS’ Network of International S&T Centres of Excellence. During the meeting, the two sides discussed a number of important matters of mutual interests, such as a proposal for establishing R&D Centre in Tunisia, financial cooperation, faculty and student exchange, and cooperation for establishing technology parks.
The Executive Director apprised the Tunisian Ambassador about the post-graduate and doctoral scholarships, and post-doctoral fellowships offered at COMSATS’ Centres of Excellence in China, Pakistan, Iran, and Bangladesh. He further added that post-graduate scholarships offered at COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) cover full tuition costs, waiver on admission charges, and financial subsidies for accommodation.
Dr. Zaidi also stressed the importance of developing flexible mobility of students (studies, training, internship, etc.), teachers and researchers from private and public institutions that could also serve as means for improving communication between COMSATS’ Member States. In this context, he sought the support of Tunisian Ambassador for inviting the international students of Tunisia for short-term student exchange at two Centres of Excellence of COMSATS in Pakistan, CIIT and the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS). The Executive Director assured that the student exchange programme offered by CIIT will most likely be fully covered except for the air travel and daily allowance.
During the meeting, Dr. Zaidi also proposed the establishment of COMSATS-Tunisian R&D Centre in Tunisia that could cater to the relevant needs of Tunisia and assured him every possible technical and financial support from COMSATS.
The honourable Ambassador extended gratitude for COMSATS’ proposal to bring the academic communities of Pakistan and Tunisia closer, and share experiences and good practices relating to training and research. His Excellency informed that strong political will already exists in Tunisia for purposeful international cooperation and urged COMSATS to maintain high-level engagements with the country. He believed that the existing opportunities could be fully tapped with the help of more practical work and coordination of the joint activities. In this regard, the Advisor (Programmes) proposed that a meeting may be held between the Executive Director COMSATS and the incumbent Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research, Tunisia, in order to apprise him about the role of COMSATS in facilitating S&T cooperation in the developing world.
The meeting concluded with a pledge to broaden and deepen their cooperation in S&T between COMSATS and Tunisia.