Among the main project objectives, INSPIRE wanted to improve the participation in strategic planning and development activities of non-university actors and non-state actors. Participation is one dimension of governance in need of extra attention in the Iraqi Higher Institutions, as also proven by the results of the needs assessment conducted on the higher education system (see Final Report with the updated needs analysis).
For this purpose, the Iraqi partner universities were engaged in the creation of consultation centers, namely Local and International Consultation Units, to work in consolidating the consultation and participation process at each university.
Starting point for each institution was the stakeholders map drafted at the beginning of the project, where target groups for each institution are identified. Partners met in May 2022 for the definition of a strategy for the creation of the consultative centers, and decisions were made on the physical places, human resources as well as objectives of the consultative centers.
Over 2022, based on the letter of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research / Directorate of Scholarships and Cultural Relations/ Department of International and Arab Organizations No. 16110 on (17/5/2022), universities established the creation of the Local and International Consultation Units, directly linked to the President of the University. The units were created as follows:
- Sumer University, June 2022
- Southern Technical University, June 2022
- University of Baghdad, June 2022
- University of Mosul, June 2022
- Al-Furat Al-Awsat Technical University, June 2022
- Al-Qasim Green University, June 2022
- Wasit University, June 2022
- University of Basrah, September 2022
- Al-Karkh University of Science, September 2022
- Basrah University for Oil and Gas. September 2022
For each center, universities have named internal responsible staff members, and external consultants. and set some strategic aspects for the work of the consultation units.
Sumer University, following the strategy set by the Ministry of Higher Educaton and Scientific Research, established that the unit is directly linked to the President of the University, and assigning 4 staff members with the tasks of managing the unit. The 4 members are all professors at the university, working in different fields which may benefit from the dialogue with external stakeholders (Geophysics, Information Technology, Administraive Law, Food Chemestry).
Southern Technical University established a project advisory unit to follow up the implementation of the center, which is managed by two of the senior staff at the University and two of the governorate’s notables. Two rooms at the Continuing Education Center were dedicated to the Local and International Consultation Unit.
The University of Basrah, the University of Mosul, Al-Qasim Green University, and Wasit University, following the same pattern, created the consultation units and named two internal consultants and two external experts.
The University of Baghdad created the administrative unit as part of the organizational structure of the university presidency, modifying the organizational structure for the purpose. The university also outlined the tasks and duties of the Local and International Consultation Unit: 1. Developing a future strategic plan for developing and defining the international relations of our university within a certain period of time. 2. Follow up the implementation of the plan. 3. Evaluate the outputs of the plan after the expiration of the time period specified for its implementation.
The Basrah University for Oil and Gas dedicated an hall in the presidency building of the university for the center, with two senior staff members and two governorate’s notables in charge of the unit management.
Al-Karkh University of Science named 3 internal staff membes to follow on the work of the center, with an expertise on sciencentific affairs, including the Director of the Scientific Affairs Department; while Al-Furat Al-Awsat Technical University named 4 consultants, the Director of the Department of Quality Assurance and University Performance, and the Responsible for the International Relations Division in the university, working together with the Head of the Alkayal Center for Businessmen and the President of the Najaf Chamber of Commerce as external consultants.
All in all, 40 people amid internal staff members at the 10 Iraqi institutions and external consultants from the governorates and local organisations are involved in the consultation process and the creation of the 10 centers.