08 декабря 2014 19:21

Sorbonne branch opens in Almaty


Sorbonne University of Paris has opened a branch in Almaty on December 6, Tengrinews reports.

Sorbonne University of Paris has opened a branch in Almaty on December 6, Tengrinews reports.

The opening of the Sorbonne-Kazakhstan coincided with the visit of the President of France François Hollande to Astana that started on December 5. Hollande met with President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. The heads of the states discussed partnership between France and Kazakhstan in trade, economy, investments, oil and gas, space exploration and rolling-stock manufacturing.

Speaking at the opening ceremony President Nazarbayev reiterated that education was a priority for Kazakhstan and that the country that had joined the Bologna Declaration was striving for best international standards. "We aim to provide our young people with an opportunity to study in their home country (...), and the fact that world-renowned universities have come here shows that we are on the right path," he said.

President Hollande promised that Kazakh-French cooperation in education would continue to expand. "I am confident that the new institute graduates will be able to make a significant contribution to the innovative development of Kazakhstan," he said.

The agreement to open Sorbonne-Kazakhstan University was signed back on September 17, 2013 between Paris Sorbonne University and Abay Kazakh Pedagogical University. A French delegation led by the Minister for la Francophonie Yamina Benguigui, President of Paris Diderot University Vincent Berger, French writer Marek Halter and historian Catherine Poujol attended the signing ceremony along with the Akim (Mayor) of Almaty Akhmetzhan Yessimov, representatives of the French and Kazakhstan’s embassies, officials from Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Education and Science.

Marek Halter was the one who initiated the Sorbonne-Kazakhstan project in late 2012. The famous French-Jewish writer was born in Warsaw, but had to flee from the persecution of Jews during the World War II. Eventually he found himself in the Soviet Union and spend the remainder of the war in Ukraine, Moscow and Uzbekistan. The years he spent in the country gave him a good command of the Russian language and shaped many of his future activities that have since been tied to the post-soviet space.   

Speaking at the December 6 event in Almaty the French writer said: "It is going to make a beautiful university. We are going to see five departments. We have been asked for medicine, marketing and agriculture. This is but the first step. And we already have two departments: international relations and management."

The Almaty-based branch is the only Sorbonne institute in Central Asia and the second one world-wide. The first one is in Abu Dhabi. 

Sorbonne-Kazakhstan University offers double-degree Master’s programs in International Dialogue in the Context of Globalization (International Relations) and Managing Changes in the Modern World (Management). Later on future it is planning to add medicine, marketing, and agriculture.

The academic year 2014-2015 will see 100 international relations and management scholarships distributed among Master’s degree students at the Almaty-based university.

Writing by Gyuzel Kamalova and Tatyana Kuzmina

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