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The event was attended by several thousand students, their parents and education experts, who were informed by the exhibitors about study and teaching opportunities in the EU Member States and Turkey.
Ambassador Eduards Stiprais, Head of the EU Delegation to Uzbekistan, welcomed all participants before the ribbon-cutting ceremony, involving heads of the EU Member States missions in Tashkent, and delivered a speech:
"I’m happy to welcome you at one of the biggest education fairs in Uzbekistan promoting European higher education held over the last years. I have no doubts that with more than 20 universities, educational organisations and embassies representing 14 European states this event will be successful.
The ancient people of this land always valued knowledge and educated people enjoyed respect in local societies. Therefore, it’s not surprising that between the years 800 and 1200, the states existing here led the world in trade and economic development, the size and sophistication of its cities, the refinement of its arts, and, above all, in the advancement of knowledge in many fields. The local scholars achieved signal breakthroughs in astronomy, mathematics, geology, medicine, chemistry, music, social science, philosophy, and theology, among other subjects. They gave algebra its name, calculated the earth's diameter with unprecedented precision, wrote the books that later defined European medicine, and penned some of the world's greatest poetry. Rarely in history has a more impressive group of polymaths appeared at one place and time. No wonder that their writings influenced European culture from the time of St. Thomas Aquinas in 13th century down to the scientific revolution in 16-18th centuries.
We successfully continue our educational and scientific exchange in 21st century. Nowadays, thousands of Uzbek students are studying in European universities, mostly in France, Germany and the United Kingdom (what could be explained by the fact that English, Germany and French are among the foreign languages compulsory for study in local schools). However, it is with great satisfaction we also note a growing number of Uzbek students in Eastern and Central Europe, for instance, in Czech Republic and in the Baltic States.
I really hope that number of bright students from Uzbekistan will increase significantly in European universities thanks to the current educational fair. For many of them a journey to Europe will start today from meetings with you, and I can assure you that, if they are recruited by your universities, Uzbek students will be among one of the most diligent, clever and grateful participants of your academic programmes.
Thanks to the EU-funded projects European universities have built a solid foundation for cooperation with around 50 local universities. This cooperation contributes to the efforts of the Government of Uzbekistan designed to reform the higher education system. Thanks to Tempus and Erasmus+ programmes we are able to actively work with the Uzbek partners to develop new Bachelor and Master’s degrees, renew existing university curriculum to meet requirements of employers expecting specific skills and knowledge from local students, provide modern equipment for Uzbek universities, improve their management and quality control systems, ensure further exchange by students, teachers and researchers between Uzbekistan and European universities and so on.
The Study in Europe Fair another good examples of such cooperation, demonstrating more intensive exchange between the EU Member States and Uzbekistan in the area of education, as well as contributing to people-to-people contacts between European and Uzbek citizens. The EU welcomes and supports such initiatives and we hope this event will become a regular one in the years to come.
I would like to thank you all for participating and supporting the Study in Europe Fair. Special thanks goes to the British Council for their excellent work and leadership required for organising such great and complex event involving so many organisations from 14 European states that has been a quite challenging task. We also value that the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialised Education for has supported this event like many others in the past. And last but not least, I would like to thank all exhibitors, who have arrived to Tashkent from the various European capitals to participate in the Fair and tell Uzbek students about opportunities for study in their states.
I wish us all a very productive event, and from my own part I would be happy to have a separate exchange with you on how we could improve our educational cooperation with Uzbekistan", Ambassador Stiprais said.