Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia visited Kutaisi International University (KIU), where he inspected the completed and under-construction academic buildings, residential campus, library, conference hall, lecture halls equipped with smart boards, university terrace and cafeteria, administrative offices, and recreational spaces.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli, Minister of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport, University Rector Aleksandre Tevzadze, and Nikoloz Chkhetiani, chairman of the Supervisory Board of Charity Fund Cartu, received the PM at Kutaisi International University. Ekaterine Tikaradze, Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs, Imereti Governor Zviad Shalamberidze, and Majoritarian Parliament Deputies Genadi Margvelashvili and Dimitri Mkheidze also accompanied him.
The head of the government noted that education is the most important priority for the authorities, and Kutaisi International University is an extremely large project that was implemented with Bidzina Ivanishvilis investment.
"What we have seen is extremely impressive. This is an example of how one can approach separate educational fields in a systemic manner. I remember what was going on here very well - there was a swamp here, and what we are seeing now is extremely impressive. Setting emotions aside for the moment, this is the most important, the most essential project for the country as of today. Everyone understands that we have very talented young people but talent alone is no longer sufficient in global modernity. This talent requires high-tech educational infrastructure, which is what we can see here. This is the necessary condition in order for our children and youngsters to be able to withstand the global competition of tomorrow. The education that they will receive here will enable them to be globally competitive and this is of paramount importance for the development of the country. Otherwise, no matter what we do, further progress and development will be very problematic for the country. This is why we have always said that education is the most important priority for the authorities and this is an extremely large project that was implemented - from start to finish - as a result of private initiative, with Bidzina Ivanishvilis investment. This is an investment of about one billion euros. Furthermore, a hadron collider will also be added to the project, adding 40 million euros to this investment. The hadron collider will provide new, additional functionality - this will be a medical center for the treatment of cancer and also a research center," he noted.
PM Gakharia emphasized the fact that the project is extremely important for Kutaisi which, in turn, is becoming a university city, rendering it even more attractive.
"I am certain that young people not only from Georgia but from the region as well will study here soon, together with many foreign students. Joint courses and programs with the worlds leading international universities are one of the distinctive niches occupied by this university. This, of course, is also extremely important; it will bring additional competence and knowledge to the education system and, of course, this is an extremely important project for Kutaisi. Kutaisi is becoming a university city. I am certain that this will render Kutaisi even more attractive," the Prime Minister stated.
The first phase of construction has already been completed and KIU is ready to accept the first wave of students from fall of 2020 for undergraduate programs in mathematics, management, and computer science. Enrollment in the university takes place on the basis of Unified National Examinations. Programs will be offered in English and lectures will be conducted by Georgian and foreign professors and lecturers. It should be noted that foreign students will also be able to study at university.
More than 1,000 students have registered to apply to KIU in the 2020-2021 academic year. A student grant fund is available at the university, which will fund tuition and student housing fees, as well as student scholarships.
The international university is located in Kutaisi, in a green environment that spans 153 hectares and includes ultra-modern academic buildings, libraries, cafeterias, well-equipped sports and road infrastructure, shared workspaces, student dormitories, as well as housing for academic and administrative personnel.
First-wave students will find student dormitories that meet modern standards, studio-type rooms with autonomous heating and cooling systems, bathrooms, bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens, and study areas at the university. The rooms are equipped with modern appliances, furniture, all types of necessary inventory items, and an uninterrupted connection to the Internet.
Kutaisi International University actively cooperates with the worlds leading universities and research centers, including the Technical University of Munich. The academic programs with which Kutaisi International University will start to operate were created in cooperation with precisely the aforementioned university. It should be noted that Professor Wolfgang A. Herrmann, the former president of the Technical University of Munich, holds the position of Honorary President of the university.
The development and construction of the university city is taking place in stages. In the next stage, the Hadron Therapy Center will be founded within the university in cooperation with IBA, one of the worlds leading providers in the fight against cancer. Modern research in the fields of medical and nuclear physics will be carried out there in addition to the treatment of oncological diseases. Two cyclotrons will be housed in the Hadron Therapy Center, which was funded by Cartu Fund with 40 million euros. One of them will be used for the treatment of tumors, while the other will be used for the purpose of conducting scientific research in the field of oncology.
The goal of the contract signed between Kutaisi International University and Cartu Fund is to establish the Hadron Therapy Center on the campus of Kutaisi International University. The center will receive its first patients in Georgia from 2024. The Proteus®ONE solution contract provides for an agreement on the provision of long-term operational and technical services worth up to 40 million euros, which is funded by Cartu Fund.
Kutaisi International University is the largest educational project implemented in Georgia. The idea and concept behind the world-class megaproject belongs to Bidzina Ivanishvili and his family. The Ivanishvili family donated 1 billion euros to establish the university in Kutaisi.
The university aims to create a center for research, innovation, and technology, to train highly qualified specialists, to develop hadron therapy in the region, and to facilitate the economic growth and development of the country.
By Ana Dumbadze