International educational projects are of great importance for the implementation of legislation and government programmes that aim to reform and further develop higher education in Uzbekistan, as well as for deepening cooperation with leading foreign universities in the areas of education and research.
In this regard, the University of World Economy and Diplomacy under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan (UWED) has once again achieved successful results in international competitions for international grants in the field of higher education under the call for proposals 2020. As a good example, “Tashkent Jean Monnet Center of Excellence for European studies”, has been selected for funding by the European Commission out of a total of 1447 projects that participated in the international competition of the European Union Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Programme.
Overall, this marks the fourth consecutive victory of the University of World Economy and Diplomacy in the area of international grant acquisition. The project is the first major project of its kind not only in Uzbekistan, but also in Central Asia in terms of interaction and mutual enrichment in various fields of education, professional training of young people with the encouragement of innovative ideas, attraction of new participants in the labour market and civil society.
The main goal of the project is to support education and research in Uzbekistan in the areas of international politics, regional integration processes, EU studies, EU-Central Asia studies, and EU-Uzbekistan relations. The Tashkent Center for European Studies, which is being set up for this purpose, will coordinate political, economic and legal education and research across the country, and will serve as a scientific and methodological hub.
As its name suggests, the Project claims to be a focal point of competence and knowledge on European studies in Uzbekistan. Tashkent Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence develops a strategic three-year annual plan including a wide range of activities. The Project, primarily, will assess current situation of European studies in Uzbekistan, identify existing problems and areas of inefficiency, and assist in seeking solutions to the problems through academic and scientific instruments. In doing so, the Project will combine four main activities: (1) transfer of European knowledge to Uzbek auditorium by implementing new courses and organizing summer universities (teaching); (2) Enhancing research capacity in the field of EU studies by leading specific researches, providing methodological support to young researcher and concentrating human resources by raising connectivity between researchers of different disciplines (research); (3) fostering the dialogue between the academic world, policy-makers, public servants, and civil society institutions through promoting open debate discussions and reflection on the regional integration issues (debating); and, finally, (4) disseminating information among the general public at large to enhance knowledge about the European Union, its integration processes and the newest EU strategy for Central Asia through diverse events and periodical publications (awareness raising dissemination).
In the field of teaching, the main objective of the Project is to keep teaching of existing courses and to implement new prioritized courses on EU Law, Politics and Economics. The final expected result is to train future professionals who are well aware of the socio-political, economic, legal, and philosophical aspects of the EU and European integration.
In the field of research activities, the Project gives a strong impetus to the research activities on European studies in Uzbekistan. It supports current and future research activities, enhances their attractiveness, acts as a scientific and methodological hub for researchers, and directs research outcomes to relevant government agencies for the purpose of implementation of the best results.
In the field of policy debate and dissemination activities, Project aims at creating a platform for the discourse between academic community and practitioners on EU studies, regional integration issues and the present conditions and future prospects of the EU-Uzbekistan relations, as well as providing general public with information about the current developments of the EU internal and external affairs.
Policy debate and dissemination of information related to European studies and research results will be realized in different ways. Overall, through the framework of the Project 48 events: 36 roundtable discussions at local level, 3 republican conferences at national and 3 international conferences at international level, 3 summer universities and 3 annual competition for the nomination “The best research paper in EU studies” will be organized. All together 30 trans-border mobility is envisaged.
Overall, through the framework of the Project 84 publications: 6 book-brochure publications (collection of conferences` materials), 3 monographs and 72 periodicals (36 monthly newsletters on the basis of round-tables discussions resuming their contents and 36 journal articles with on-line blog post resumé), 1 Catalogue and 2 translated text of key documents will be issued. At the institutional level, “Europe Info¥Point” corner will be created at UWED.
The Project strives to achieve its goals through untraditional innovative methods. By establishing the Trinational Franco-German-Uzbek Summer University it will promote the teacher-student experience between European scholars and Uzbek students, providing students with cutting-edge information and knowledge.
The Project identifies and financially supports talented young people through annual "The best research paper on European studies" contest. These practices are the first of its kind to be implemented in Uzbekistan.
The Project will contribute to the development of links between civil society and non-governmental organizations. Thanks to Project`s encouragement non-state educational and research activities will be on the rise. Networking and intensive cooperation with regional educational institutions located in different corners of Uzbekistan is one of the core purposes of the Project. In other word, thanks to the Project we will increase academic cooperation between central and regional higher educational institutions and consolidate their integrity.
One of the important new elements of the Project is that representatives of the other Central Asian republics for the first time will be invited to the events organized by Tashkent Jean Monnet Center. Thus, the Project will also serve as an impetus to upgrade our historical relationships with the neighboring countries through offering an opportunity for the academic community of the Central Asian region to conduct joint researches and analysis on important regional issues and to find common solutions to them.
This Project has been elaborated in connection with the development of implementation phase of the EU new strategy for Central Asia (2019) and Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Uzbekistan (expected in 2020-2021).