|Speech of the Minister of Education and Culture Dr. Costas Kadis|
|Tuesday, 6 June 2017|
I am very glad to be here today to contribute to your discussions on the Chinese one Belt one Road Initiative and the possibilities of Cyprus to act as a stepping stone into our Region. I think that the most relevant input on my behalf to today's discussions is a reflection on my participation in the Belt and Road Forum for Cooperation, held in China earlier this month. As you all know the goal of the Belt and Road Initiative is to promote the wellbeing of people, to ensure balanced and sustainable development of countries, to improve the inclusiveness of the development environment and to achieve shared development. Its priorities lie in policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, financial cooperation, and people-to-people bonds.
As a Minister of Education and Culture, I focused my attention more on possibilities opening up in the areas of my competence, without of course losing sight of the more general perspective of the forum. In principle, I believe that cooperation in the Education and Culture areas can spark innovation and strengthen the bonds between people. On May 14, 2017, I participated in the Thematic Session on People-to-People Connectivity which was attended by more than 200 delegates of governments, political parties, enterprises and civil society organizations from more than 40 countries. Participants reached wide-ranging consensus highlighting, among others, that all our initiatives should built on the social foundation of people-to-people connectivity, which serves to boost the exchanges and mutual understanding between people.
In that session I presented with my colleague, the Minister of Education of the People's Republic of China, the signed agreement of the "Mutual Recognition Agreement for Higher Education Titles" between Cyprus and China. This Agreement was actually the contribution of Cyprus and China together in the "People to People connectivity" concept, since the Agreement opens up new pathways in Cyprus–China cooperation, thus promoting connectivity of universities, researchers, academic personnel and students, from our two countries.
This agreement is also in line with one of our Government's Strategic objectifs to establish Cyprus as an international education center.
During my stay in Chine, I also visited the Renmin Historical University and the University of European Languages and Cultures BFSU, where I was guided and had meetings with their Presidents and their Rectors. All of them demonstrated a keen interest to pursue cooperation with their Cypriot counterparts. To follow up on the signing of the Agreement I have extended an invitation to the Minister of Education of China to lead a delegation visiting Cyprus later this year.
I am convinced that my recent visit to China and the Agreement that we signed with my colleague, Mr. Chen Baosheng, will substantially contribute towards the strengthening of the relations between our two countries but also towards materialising of the Belt and Road concept.
Concluding let me wish you every success to your seminar.