VMU Signed Memorandums of Understanding With Two UK Universities
In a ceremony at the British Embassy in Vilnius on 14 June, Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) signed memorandums of understanding with two universities of the United Kingdom: the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) and the University of Strathclyde. This partnership allows students to acquire a combination of British and Lithuanian education which will raise their competences and professionalism to an international level.
“The partnership with RAU is unique and promising: it will unite the two main academic institutions of both countries that conduct scientific research and studies in the fields of agriculture, forestry, and bioeconomics. It is my belief that joint efforts will improve our contribution to the implementation of the global Green New Deal”, VMU Rector Prof. Juozas Augutis said.
VMU will cooperate with the University of Strathclyde in the implementation of master’s degree studies. The universities are currently preparing the Education Management programme, while the future plans are dedicated to the development of research projects and employee exchange. According to VMU Rector, the partnership with the University of Strathclyde is an important step in the promotion of international training of teachers in Lithuania. Importantly, the partnerships will allow students to have even more experiences and opportunities: new double-degree programmes will be developed, and their graduates will receive double diplomas.
Speaking at the start of the ceremony, the British Ambassador to the Republic of Lithuania John Brian Olley noted that one of the most rewarding privileges of diplomatic service is to be able to celebrate real progress in building even stronger relations between two countries. According to the ambassador, the United Kingdom value collaboration with Lithuania through overseas higher education programs, joint research programs, publications, student and staff mobility exchanges.
“I congratulate all three universities at the start of this new key strategic partnership. These new partnerships will enable a higher level of academic and scientific cooperation between our two countries, especially on the Green Agenda and in education. This will also widen opportunities for the mobility of students and members of academic staff”, the ambassador emphasised.
The event’s participants also included the Vice-Minister for Education, Science and Sports of the Republic of Lithuania Gintautas Jakštas. The vice-minister noted that such European higher education cooperation initiatives significantly increase mobility and enhance the quality of education and research. Also, they enable students to obtain a degree by studying in several different countries. “We believe that shared experience and different approaches, the pooled competences through the partnership established today will [not only] give an impulse to the new quality of academic cooperation, but also it will contribute to the efficient solutions of global green challenges. My congratulations and sincere wish for sustainable and fruitful cooperation”, Gintautas Jakštas said.
Before signing the memorandum with VMU, the Vice-Chancellor of RAU Prof. Joanna Price highlighted that the new agreement is a continuation of traditions for the university, which was opened 175 years ago: for many decades, the Royal Agricultural University has had an international outlook and collaborated with the best in the field to ensure the advancement of agricultural productivity and global as well as national food security.
“This exciting new collaboration with VMU is an important extension of this transition, bringing together two leading agricultural specialists in the shared endeavour of addressing food security in the context of profound climate and environmental change. I sincerely hope that our new collaboration with VMU will enable both our respective researchers and students to play an important and innovative role in making the most of the new opportunities and leading the way towards a more equitable and healthy world”, the Vice-Chancellor said.
Concurring with Prof. Joanna Price, the RAU Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof. Neil Ravenscroft added that one of the main goals of cooperation with VMU is to provide students and staff with the opportunity to have international experience to understand problems from different perspectives. “Working collaboratively offers so much more than working in isolation. And it’s been cornerstone of the RAU as a specialist provider in the UK to find the right partners globally to work collaboratively”, Prof. Ravenscroft noted.
The other memorandum of understanding was signed between VMU and the University of Strathclyde. The Associate Principal and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at UoS, Prof. Ian Rivers, reminded the audience that this university was founded in 1796, and today its aim is to meet the needs of the 21st century student and the demands placed upon them.
“Partnership is at the heart of our commitment to useful learning, and I hope that this new relationship with VMU will enhance that commitment. I’m very pleased that we can build even stronger connections to Europe and more especially with Lithuania, through the development of our own academic partnership in the field of educational management and leadership. The development of a joint degree is one of our international priorities”, Prof. Rivers said, adding that the new joint Educational Management and Leadership programme is expected to be ready in 2022.
Other representatives of the University of Strathclyde also spoke during the ceremony. Joanna Holmes, the Associate Dean, Director of Professional and Academic Learning at the School of Education of the University of Strathclyde, noted that it was exciting and pleasing to see something that began as conversations on Zoom come to fruition in this way. Mark Wilber, the Business Development Manager, expressed hope that University of Strathclyde will soon be able to welcome VMU employees and students.
VMU Vice-Rector for Communication Assoc. Prof. Vilma Bijeikienė remarked that the university considers these two memorandums to be an encouragement and strong obligation to strive for better quality in studies and research. “The legendary basketball genius Michael Jordan said: “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships”. I hope that this cooperation will allow the teams of our scholars of our universities ultimately to make our youth and our countries the winners”, VMU Vice-Rector said at the end of the ceremony.