UPEI president visits Egypt, Turkey

Ryan Ross
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UPEI president Alaa Abd-El-Aziz

A recent trip to Egypt and Turkey was about establishing relationships in those countries, says UPEI president Alaa Abd-El-Aziz.

Abd-El-Aziz returned to P.E.I. this week from the trip that saw him meet with government officials, business leaders and representatives from post-secondary schools.

In an interview with The Guardian, Abd-El-Aziz said UPEI has a great reputation outside of Canada.

“We’re a small institution with a great quality of education,” he said.

Abd-El-Aziz travelled with Premier Robert Ghiz for part of the trip and said having him there was essential to showing that the province was interested in post-secondary education.

“I think that this was demonstrated very well and it was well received,” he said.

In total, Abd-El-Aziz spent about six days in Egypt and two more in Turkey as part of the trip.

What came out of it were discussions about new programs and ways for students from abroad to get part of their education at UPEI and eventually graduate with a degree from the Island university.

Abd-El-Aziz, who is from Egypt, said he understands the country well.

But David Drake, the Canadian ambassador to Egypt, also helped facilitate some of the meetings and Abd-El-Aziz said he was a catalyst in some of the relationships UPEI was trying to build.

“I can’t say enough about him,” Abd-El-Aziz said.

The ultimate goal of those relationships was to improve student and faculty mobility between the two countries, Abd-El-Aziz said.

In demonstrating some of the work that has already been done, Abd-El-Aziz used the example of 11 doctoral students who spent four months studying at UPEI.

“This was a very, very strong interaction,” he said.

Abd-El-Aziz said it’s important for students to see the world and learn from different cultures to experience different perspectives.

“What you learn outside the classroom is as important as what you learn inside the classroom,” he said.

With Turkey playing an important role in the region’s economy, Abd-El-Aziz said he met with university officials there too, along with a representative from the Turkish business council.

And although he’s back in P.E.I., Abd-El-Aziz said he’s going to spend more time solidifying the relationships he built during his trip.

“There is huge opportunity,” he said.

An attempt to speak to Ghiz about his trip was unsuccessful.



Geographic location: Egypt, Turkey, P.E.I. Canada

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Recent comments

  • Policies outdated
    February 12, 2013 - 18:18

    Why has the sexual harassment policy (fair treatment policy) been outdated since 2007. Why will the university not update this policy? It was supposed to have been updated regarding relationships between professors and students, dating students, years ago, when it was put into a Sexual harassment complaint against UPEI with the HRC, back several years ago. Is it because a dean, with political connections, is dating students? Is it that the targeting of females, prevalent in one department, would have to stop? If the policy was updated, such unethical behaviors would have to stop and that would be a bad thing for those who hold power over students. Abuses in Power that can destroy a student, their work, their reputation, their academic reputation, their future, their life. This is happening at UPEI. Even mediation, with the PEI HRC has been infiltrated by corrupt processes from the univerrsity. A Justice Minister that remains silent in having a transparent investigation on a bogus mediation conducted between a student and upei under a non-legal mediator at HRC where this mediator acted as a lawyer, breached all the contract and acted as a lawyer, made decisions, refused to step down after calls of biases and breaches in contract. Is the silence in doing her job a result of those in power being responsible in such wrongdoing? Worse yet, the contract that was signed was never followed through by UPEI where they held this student hostage to the contract and silenced her. This is so immoral and so wrong. Everyone has been rewarded who took part except of course for the student who still is being defamed, harassed, and cannot access a so called public institution. This president needs to focus a great deal on such problems that plague this campus before anyone could possibly believe that this campus has a good reputation anywheres. Penn State was a much greater and more powerful university than UPEI and it fell after years of cover-ups. Lets hope this lesson will not be lost on upei, although, thus far, upei is devoid of learning any lessons from the past.

  • Impress Islanders instead
    February 12, 2013 - 10:57

    Both the premier and the president should have been in the province, making an attempt at impressing Islanders by fixing the messes that they have caused. Oh, but that would mean work and some intelligence.

  • should have stayed in foreign countries
    February 11, 2013 - 19:12

    Maybe president and Henderson should have stayed considering the headlines here on the Island while the group were away. What a waste of money, the president needs to fix the problems on this campus first. Then go off to far away lands to do whatever but don't do it on the taxpayers' dime.

  • Tax payer Poker
    February 11, 2013 - 10:42

    This could be a positive venture, it could be nonsense. Who knows? In the absence of agreed upon performance indicators - before the trip - Islanders will never know. If the travellers haven't rendered explicit what a successful venture looks like, it's just a game of tax-payer poker. When will the report of this trip be available? Heck, even Christopher Columbus had some sense of what he was going to bring back home before he sailed away. Lest we be planb'd over and over again, let's get some accountability on the table, eh?

  • Former Islander Now Working in Alberta
    February 11, 2013 - 10:11

    UPEI PRESIDENT TRAVELS TO NATIVE EGYPTIAN HOMELAND AND TURKEY ON "SALES JUNKET" WITH PREMIER ROBERT GHIZ Island taxpayers have already paid fo rjunkets to Istanbul, Turkey for the former Dean of Business, Roberta Macdonald and her husband, Sean Hennessey, formerly "faculty advisior" to the UPEI - TRC. Has any tourism business resulted from these earlier junkets? How many Turks now travel to PEI on holidays? I did not know it was a Mid Eastern and Muslim country that travelled to PEI beaches for a vacation destination. This last trip to Turkey by the President of UPEI hopefuilly was for better purposes than one paid for by the UPEI - TRC previously. Sounds like another UPEI trip by that taxpayers will uiltimately get the bill for...

  • Fed Up
    February 11, 2013 - 09:27

    As long as we keep paying for these trips for Ghiz - AND the UPEI President.... they will keep travelling. And the Guardian will keep the bad stories about the Conservatives going - to keep our minds off Ghiz and his big time spenging - not to mention the dreaded HST he's bringing in - even though he promised not to!!! I'm so sick of the Journalists from this newspaper. We refuse to read anything they say now......you know what it will be before you start!!! (i.e. today complaining that Conservatives aren't backing up Duffy by sending papers to the auditors. Imagine what they would say if they DID NOT send papers?!?!?!?

  • Keep your troubles there.
    February 11, 2013 - 07:39

    Gotta admit I'm a bit nervous about the idea we are presenting such an open door to students from such an unsettled area. Good chance for security concerns to arrive. It will only take one " pretend student" with an agenda to create a real problem on our naive and unprepared Island. It is a dangerous world out there! That trip money would have been better spent on fighting the deficit not bringing in more students on our dime.

  • Parts of trip, purpose of trip needs clarification
    February 11, 2013 - 05:21

    "Abd-El-Aziz travelled with Premier Robert Ghiz for part of the trip Abd-El-Aziz travelled with Premier Robert Ghiz for part of the trip " So. what part of the trip? What was the purpose of the trip? The cost of the trips? parts of trip? What do the taxpayers get out of these trips? Seems like the president went back home with a Premier for some R&R? Such wasteful spending, such rip-offs for Islanders. Not even the premier could waste his time commenting on such ridiculous spending- can't justify stupid

  • Wasting taxpayers money
    February 11, 2013 - 05:11

    "In an interview with The Guardian, Abd-El-Aziz said UPEI has a great reputation outside of Canada." What a joke! Are you kidding us? Most people don't even know about Atlantic Canada, little less the university on PEI. Many people in Canada, don't even know that there is a university on PEI. The headlines and questions, problems that have racked UPEI in the past few years, I doubt this statement is very accurate. I would question such a statement made by the president. How does the president verify such a statement? Is it because he and the premier said so? Right. Seems more like a political statement, more like the president spending too much time, too many freebie trips with politicians.

  • islander
    February 10, 2013 - 16:00

    I wonder how much of this trip was on the taxpayer's coin? Ghiz has no problem taking trips like these and taking others with him but yet his government is preaching fiscal restraint and cuts every where

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    February 10, 2013 - 12:56

    Of course the attemp to talk to Ghiz was unsuccessful because what answers could he give to justify this trip. Ghiz thinks that he has a mandate to control all aspects of our lives. King Robert has no time to talk to an ordinary Islander and even if he did make the time would you believe anything that comes out of his mouth? We no longer trust anything that Ghiz says because he is a proven liar. As for the pres of UPEI of course this was a vacation for him paid for by Islanders. After the US destroyed the Egyptian economy vultures from all over the globe are cashing in. Why would King Robert do any different, after all, it's the new trend to cash in on others hardships, right?