29 October, 2018 - Minister Mitchell O’Connor leads Education Mission to the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. Minister of State for Higher Education is today embarking on an education mission to the United Arab Emirates (30th October to 1st November).

The Minister will meet with a number of key partners, including her counterpart, H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al-Falasi, the UAE Minister of State for Higher Education, during the visit and take part in a number of strategic meetings aimed at improving educational co-operation between Ireland and the UAE.

The Minister will be accompanied on this visit by senior managers from state agencies such as the Higher Education Authority (HEA), SOLAS, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Enterprise Ireland (EI) and Irish Higher Education Institutions, who will be showcasing the Irish Higher Education and Research Sector in order to build new partnerships with the UAE.

During this visit, the Minister will deliver the opening address at the higher education seminar which is being organised by the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) in the UAE titled “The Irish Higher Education System - Exploring Opportunities for knowledge transfer with HCT and bi-lateral engagement with the UAE”.

Speaking before her departure, the Minister said, “To have the opportunity to share and discuss Irish models of best practice in Higher and Further Education and Research in the UAE, is to me, a very important opportunity to further develop our collaborations to work together to address global challenges.

“Collaborations such as those that we are engaging with the UAE on, will also provide our future decision makers with the skills and knowledge necessary to become an active part of an ever-expanding community of cultures and nations and will give them a head start for a successful and smooth transition from education to professional life.”

The Minister will conclude her visit by officially opening, on behalf of the Irish Government, the new Irish visa application centre at the VFS Office, Dubai in partnership with VFS Global.

VFS Global Dubai, on behalf of Embassy of Ireland Abu Dhabi, will accept visa applications from visa-required nationals who wish to travel to Ireland and who are resident in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

Speaking about the opening of the VFS visa application centre, the Minister said, “I believe that this partnership with VFS Global will ensure the provision of a world-class visa application service to visa-required nationals who wish to travel from Dubai and the Northern Emirates to Ireland.”

The Minister looks forward to working in collaboration with the UAE Minister for Higher Education on the issue of Technological Universities, sharing her experience of creating the largest Technological University in Ireland and learning from the insights of the UAE and the challenges facing Higher Education in the region.