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RA Prime Minister’s visit to the Kingdom of Belgium kicks off: Nikol Pashinyan gets acquainted with educational and research institutions’ activities in Leuven


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On March 3, 2019, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan arrived in Brussels on a working visit. Early on March 4, the Prime Minister visited Leuven, the capital of Flemish Brabant province of the region of Flanders, which is located not far from Brussels and is considered to be a major university center in Belgium.

Nikol Pashinyan’s visit kicked off at the Catholic University of Leuven, where he was greeted by University Rector Luc Sels. Welcoming the Prime Minister of Armenia, the Rector said he was honored to host the Prime Minister-led Armenian delegation, noting that the Catholic University of Leuven is ready to develop cooperation with Armenia.

Introducing the University’s ongoing activities, Luc Sels noted that it is the largest and most famous university in Belgium, which implements educational and research-based international programs. All academic programs are based on innovative research by university scientists and professors.

According to him, the Catholic University has 14 branches in 10 cities of Belgium and carries out multifaceted educational and research projects. Education is provided at 15 faculties, and the research work - through individual departments and research groups. The faculties and departments are united in three groups: humanities and social sciences, natural sciences, engineering and technology and biomedical science, each of which offers a doctorate degree in relevant qualification programs.

The Prime Minister was also briefed on the activities carried out by Leuven’s Research and Development Technology Transfer Office. Prime Minister Pashinyan noted that it was a great honor to be hosted in one of the oldest and most modern universities in the world, which for almost six centuries has been promoting European science and is considered to be one of the 50 best universities in the world.

Nikol Pashinyan advised that Armenia is in the process of fundamental political and economic reforms and the government considers education as one of the most important tools on the way to an economic revolution.

“The primary goal of my government’s educational policy is to ensure effective communication between education and research. We want to drastically reform the education system, and in this context, we highlight the exchange of experience, the implementation of joint programs with leading and innovative educational and scientific institutions of the world,” the Premier said, pleased with the Catholic University’s readiness for interaction.

Issues related to cooperation opportunities in the sphere of education were discussed during the meeting. The Prime Minister left Leuven’s Catholic University for the IMEC (Interuniversity Microelectronics Center) Research Center to get acquainted with its activities and discuss cooperation prospects.

IMEC’s Vice President Ludo Deferm presented the ongoing programs, noting that the Center specializes in micro- and nano-electronics and digital technologies with a focus on new generation equipment. He said that the nearly 4,000 staff-strong IMEC is involved in the Netherlands, Taiwan, China, India, the United States and Japan. Nikol Pashinyan toured the center’s semiconductor cleaning laboratory.

The Prime Minister’s next port of call was Leuven’s Health Center, a joint project of Leuven’s Catholic University and IMEC Research Center. Accompanied by IMEC Director Isabelle Francois, Nikol Pashinyan toured the exhibition hall to get acquainted with the Center’s activities and goals.

Isabelle Francois advised that the Health Center is a unique experimental institution whose visitors can get acquainted with the future of healthcare through innovative technologies. The Premier was told how artificial intelligence, 3D modeling, carriers and nanotechnologies can influence the development of healthcare in the future.

Prime Minister Pashinyan advised that Armenia is hosting the Global IT Congress this year and invited the Rector of the Catholic University of Leuven, the Vice President of IMEC Research Center and the Health Center’s Director to attend the event.

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