House President discusses post-Brexit higher education collaboration during London visit

The President of the House of Representatives Demetris Syllouris highlighted the strength of the educational links between Cyprus and the UK in a keynote speech at this year’s International Higher Education Forum, a global event organised by Universities UK at London’s Imperial College.

Noting the large number of Cypriot students in UK universities, Syllouris said: This has not been a one-sided relationship. The UK has recognised, especially in recent years, a newly established and dynamic higher education sector in Cyprus with a rapidly increasing momentum that opens up a wealth of possibilities.

He referred specifically, inter alia, to the collaboration between St George’s University of London and the University of Nicosia, the UKLan Cyprus campus, and the KIOS Centre of Excellence, a joint University of Cyprus and Imperial College research initiative.

Central to this year’s forum debate is Brexit and this potential disruption to the international higher education collaboration. Mr Syllouris stressed that the House has succeeded in amending in time relevant legislation, so as to avoid the creation of legal gaps and any ensuing vagueness or uneasiness as the UK prepares to leave the EU.

In his address the House President describes Brexit as a potential opportunity: Brexit could be viewed as the catalyst that has brought to the foreground more creative ideas and possibilities that we have not had the incentive to think about before. In a way, Brexit has pushed us all to re-examine, in the most practical sense, education as an instrument of soft power, that can bring together people, institutions, cultures and ultimately countries.

Speaking to CNA at the Forum, Syllouris made a special reference to his efforts to make Cyprus a base for education which could post-Brexit connect the UK, the EU and the Commonwealth by fostering university partnerships. He revealed that during his visit to London and his meetings with education officials he will discuss the possible opening in Cyprus of the first office of the Association Commonwealth Universities outside the UK.

On Wednesday and Thursday he will be having meetings with officials from the Commonwealth, the British Council, the Foreign Office and the Houses of Parliament. He will also hold a meeting with the Commons Brexit Select Committee Chairman Hilary Benn MP. Mr Syllouris will conclude use his trip with a visit to the Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain Gregorios.

Source: Cyprus News Agency