Education Conference 2017 entitled: “Finance and Entrepreneurial activities at higher education: challenges and perspectives” became the first International Conference in the field of education financing, initiated by the US-Educated Azerbaijani Alumni Association (AAA) and co-organized by ADA University and Azerbaijan Technological University. The platinum sponsor of the event was SOCAR AQS. Partnering at the event also were Standing Committee on Students and Youth under the Ministry of Education, US Embassy, ADA Center of Excellence in European Studies, American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan, British Educated Azerbaijani Alumni Association, and American Center.
The aim of the conference was to empower delegates from four industries: public sector, education, businesses, and non-governmental organizations to establish collaboration with the purpose of attracting alternative income to sustainable development of higher education institutions.
Opening the Conference Vice-rector for Governmental, External and Student affairs of the host institution, Fariz Ismayilzade. Mr. Ismayilzade welcomed international guests and participants on behalf of Rector prof. Hafiz Pashayev, and expressed his gratitude to the US-Educated Azerbaijani Alumni Association and Ms. Nazrin Baghirova (AAA deputy chair) in particular for initiating this timely dialogue between public and private entities.Mr. Ismayilzade also mentioned ADA University Foundation as one of the excellent examples for boosting alternative financing at higher education institutions in Azerbaijan.
In addition, the Adviser to the Minister of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan and head ofStanding Committee on Students and Youth under the Ministry of Education,Hasan Hasanli, the Platinum sponsor, SOCAR AQS official, SanubarNazarova, Executive Director for Education Conference Nazrin Baghirova,underscored the importance alternative financing, especially, university to industry partnershipin building relevant skills of graduates and producing research and leading innovations.
During the panel discussions the international and local experts got together to reflect their success stories with the participants. Featured guest speakers were Dr. Noah Drezner(Columbia University professor and cofounder of philanthropy center at Maryland University), Dr. Daniel Pavlov (University of Ruse Professor and Director of Center for Entrepreneurship), Dr. Suzanna Tomassi (Coventry University, Acting Deputy Director for Global Engagement Center), Dr. Gyorgy Kovacs (attorney at law and ENAM board member), and Mr. Natig Hajiyev, ADA University Foundation President. The speakers introduced such concepts and share expertise in how alumni engagement, building international partnership, developing entrepreneurial mindset and entrepreneurial model (corporate model) of higher education institutions, and relevant legal framework for public – private partnership creates a benevolent ecosystem for attracting alternative financing to higher education and building university endowment funds. At the same time, they agreed that it is important and more effective when best practices are adopted to the local context of a particular country, rather than “copy pasting” them.
After the panel discussions, the participants heard success stories on SABAH project of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan and further got acquainted with the independent researchers and faculty showcase, and theirresearch posters on the relevant topics during the “Research Gallery” of the Conference part.
Additional workshops lead by international guest speakers were held both in Baku the same day, and in Ganja on April 30th. The interactive workshops included industry, university, and NGOs representatives to interact, establish partnerships, and brainstorm around common projects. Professor Shirley Yeung, director of Center for Corporate Sustainability and Innovations at Hang Sang Tertiary Institution in Hong Kong, joined workshops in Ganja, and shared her expertise on Design Thinking and UN Sustainability Goals and their role in developing entrepreneurial mindset. In the framework of the Conference, the Center for Sustainable Development at Azerbaijan Technological University and Center for Corporate Sustainability and Innovations signed a Memorandum of Understanding to further cooperation.
Press Release written by The UE-Educated Azerbaijani Alumni Association