Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan, October 7th – Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) has achieved a historic milestone by successfully graduating its first-ever international cohort of 74 students from its franchise program abroad. The momentous occasion took place during the inaugural convocation ceremony hosted at Qaiwan International University (QIU) in the picturesque city of Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan, Iraq.
This achievement is the result of a collaboration between QIU and UTM through UTMSPACE, which facilitated the graduation of the pioneering cohort.
According to Prof Datuk Ir. Ts. Dr. Ahmad Fauzi Ismail, Vice-Chancellor of UTM, this program is part of UTM’s Transnational Education (TNE) initiative, which was launched five years ago.
The ceremony garnered significant attention and was graced by esteemed guests, including the Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region, His Right Honorable Mr. Qubad Talabani, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of the Kurdistan Region, Dr. Aram Mohammad Qadir, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors and Founder of QIU, Sheikh Fakhir Sheikh Tayeb.
The graduating class of 74 students comprised 49 graduates from the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (Software Engineering) program with honors, 10 from the Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Development program with honors, 8 from the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (Network and Computer Security) program with honors, and 7 from the Bachelor of Management (Technology) program with honors.
The degree presentation was officiated by UTM’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ahmad Fauzi, while Dr. Ismail Abdul Rahman, the President of QIU, represented QIU.
Prof. Ahmad Fauzi expressed UTM’s pride in the collaboration with QIU, emphasizing its significance as the first franchise program offered in the Middle East. He has also highlighted that over 71% of QIU graduates have secured employment, with some continuing their studies at UTM.
In a remarkable gesture, Prof. Datuk Dr. Ahmad Fauzi announced the sponsorship of three QIU graduates to undergo their postgraduate studies at UTM, with an estimated value of USD 18,000. This scholarship sponsorship serves as an encouragement for the graduates to pursue higher education and underscores UTM’s commitment to this partnership.
Prof. Ahmad Fauzi believes that the presence of the campus in Kurdistan will allow UTM to offer more programs to the people of Iraq, particularly in producing a professional workforce through QIU to meet regional needs. The partnership will explore various collaborations, including professional development, research, consultations, and other initiatives beneficial to both institutions.
He added, “The impact of UTM’s initiative to establish international franchise programs is also aligned with the framework of the MADANI Economy for Higher Education, especially in terms of the internationalization aspect, as envisioned by our Prime Minister.”
The inaugural QIU-UTM Convocation ceremony recognized the outstanding achievements of three graduates who received the Dean’s Awards. These exemplary graduates were Reza Kamil Abdul Karim, graduating with honors in the Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Development, Sima Jazaa Mohammed, graduating with honors in the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (Software Engineering), and Diana Hiwa Raouf Rahem, graduating with honors in the Bachelor of Management (Technology).
It is worth noting that Qaiwan International University (QIU) is a joint initiative of two UTM alumni, Dr. Harith R. Hasan and Dr. Ahmed Abdullah, established in 2017. Dr. Ahmed Abdullah currently serves as the Vice President (Academic) of QIU. Drawing from their experiences at UTM and the quality of education received, these alumni and the Qaiwan Group established QIU to offer UTM’s academic programs in a franchise format in Sulaimaniyah, Kurdistan.
In August 2018, QIU’s temporary campus in Sulaimaniyah, Kurdistan, Iraq, was officially inaugurated by His Right Honorable Mr. Qubad Talabani. Attending the Convocation ceremony from UTM were also Prof. Dr. Mohd Shafry Mohd Rahim, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International) of UTM, Ms. Nor Azizah Ismail, UTM Registrar, and Prof. Ts. Dr. Nazri bin Ali, Director of UTMSPACE and Chief Executive Officer, along with Deans from relevant faculties.
This historic graduation ceremony represents a significant step forward in UTM’s global educational outreach, cementing its role as a leader in transnational education and fostering international collaboration and academic excellence.
It is a testament to the university’s commitment to fostering international collaboration and upholding the highest standards of academic excellence, aligning perfectly with the overarching vision outlined in its enVision UTM 2025 Strategic Plan, particularly in its pursuit of global prominence.