Al Akhawayn Explores Deeper Partnership with Leading Austrian University FHS Kufstein
Ifrane, October 11, 2011 – Senior executives from the Fachhochschule (FHS) Kufstein Tirol University of Applied Sciences (Austria) and Al Akhawayn University met in Ifrane on October 10, 2011, in order to explore enhanced cooperation between the two institutions so as to further the development of their respective towns and adjacent communities.
Fachhochschule (FHS) Kufstein Tirol University is located in the Austrian town of Kufstein at the center of Europe near Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. Visiting Al Akhawayn for the meeting were Thomas Madritsch, Chief Executive Officer of FHS Kufstein; Noureddine Rafili, Head of the International Relations Office at FHS Kufstein; Driss Ouaouicha, President of Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane; Amy Fishburn, Director of the Office of International Programs at Al Akhawayn; and other senior Al Akhawayn executives. The visit by Madritsch as the new CEO of FHS Kufstein, is the result of earlier conversations between the two partner universities to collaborate to mutually enhance each institution’s mission, as well as to innovate for local economic development in their home towns, which bear remarkable similarities and opportunities for experience sharing.
In particular, Al Akhawayn and FHS Kufstein talked about developing a “Sister City” program between Kufstein and Ifrane. The two universities are both in mountainous towns, have relatively small but growing populations, are home to internationally renowned universities, and are important tourist destinations in Morocco and Austria, respectively.
Al Akhawayn and FHS Kufstein themselves also share many common features. Possible joint activities include efforts to leverage the universities’ resources for the benefit of the development of their home towns, to diffuse and develop the very notion of “university towns,” and to exchange students between each university and university town both during and following their studies abroad.
In fact, over the past ten years 25 Al Akhawayn and FHS Kuftstein students have participated in mutual exchanges, and in the summer of 2011 two FHS Kufstein professors and several students visited Morocco and Al Akhawayn as part of their coursework. And this Fall 2011 semester, another FHS Kufstein student, Felix Lechner is at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane.
“I am so excited to be here in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco,” Felix said in a recent interview. “It reminds me so much of my home university, and the town and mountains where I live in as a student. I am sure that there are many ways in which my alma mater and my temporary adopted town of Ifrane can help their communities and learn from each other, especially on ways to engage globally minded young people.”
For more information on FHS Kufstein and Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, please visit www.fh-kufstein.ac.at and www.aui.ma.
To view the geographic location of Kufstein, click here.