After four years of planning, a new academic venture that aims to foster regional cooperation was launched last weekend in Cyprus.
The Pafos Innovation Institute (PPI) was sired by Uriel Reichman, the president and founder of IDC Herzliya, a nonprofit, private institution for higher education. The Cyprus academy, he hopes, will promote regional cooperation by creating connections between people of different nationalities who work and study together at the new center.
The institute aims to bring together university graduates from all the countries in the region and provide them with managerial and tech skills. They will study toward graduate degrees, engage in research, and build entrepreneurial collaborations, focusing on water, food security, energy, digital technologies for production and innovative management, the IDC said in a statement.
“We hope that the students will form friendships that will ultimately lead them not only to cooperate in their professional roles, but also turn them into a force that promotes regional progress and creates a culture of peace,” said Reichman in the statement.
The coronavirus pandemic has, however, thrown a spanner in the works, and students are only scheduled to start attending from September 2021. Until then the institute will host individual courses, attended by small groups of participants from Europe and countries in the region, the IDC said.
The Pafos Innovation Institute, housed on a campus specially built by the Pafos Municipality, is certified to grant graduate degrees (MAs and MBAs) recognized in Cyprus and Europe, as well as run programs on innovation. The academic management of the institute will be carried out by IDC Herzliya, in collaboration with institutions and researchers from the Middle East and around the world.
The degree tracks will emphasize intercultural and interdisciplinary collaboration and the institute will also operate an interdisciplinary innovation center with practical classes and applied research. Students will work in partnership with industry, academia, and the public sector.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said in a video address he hopes the institute will become a center of cooperation between scientists, students and startups, and will bring together students from Israel, Cyprus, and the entire Middle East. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said the institute is the fruit of “the growing cooperation between Cyprus and Israel in recent years, in areas such as security and the war on terror, but also in the areas of technology and education.”
Paphos airport is a 40-minute flight from Israel, making it easy for faculty from the Israeli college to teach in the new facility.