RAU’s new partner university opens in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan’s new International Agriculture University, a partnership with the RAU, has officially opened in the nation’s capital Tashkent.

Just days after welcoming the first 200 students to its new courses, the grand opening ceremony took place attended by Uzbekistan’s Deputy Prime Minister Jamshid Khodjaev, Minister of Agriculture Aziz Voitov, as well as RAU Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter McCaffery and Dr Munira Aminova, Acting Rector of IAU.

After signing the Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions, Mr Khodjaev and Professor McCaffery attended a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the new building, which has been named The Queen Elizabeth II Building in honour of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who was also the Patron of the RAU.

Professor McCaffery and Mr Khodjaev then planted a tree to commemorate the opening and Professor McCaffery gave Mr Khodjaev a commemorative plaque to mark the partnership between the two institutions.

Speaking at the ceremony, at which the new first year students made a “student pledge” as part of their Matriculation ceremony, Professor McCaffery said: "Today's launch of the International Agriculture University (IAU) opens up an exciting new chapter in our history.

“That the RAU was chosen as the founding partner by the Uzbekistan Ministry of Agriculture, against competitors from North America and Europe, bears testament to our mission, vision and approach to agricultural education. 

“With the potential to exceed 3,000 students in three to five years, the RAU is uniquely placed to be 'the UK's International Agricultural University'. The surpluses generated - like those from our links with China - will go towards improving the experience of all our students, including Cirencester."

The aim of the new International Agriculture University is to lead the reform of higher education in agriculture in Uzbekistan and secure international recognition for agriculture’s role in Uzbekistan's transitional economy and society.

The partnership will give IAU students an equivalent educational experience to that of students at the RAU, with IAU students accessing a blend of face to face and online lectures and resources, by franchising some of the RAU’s existing degree programmes, and developing new degrees and modules to suit Uzbekistan’s conditions and its international trade ambitions as the new university grows and develops.

Dr Aminova said: “Today we are planting a seed for the new knowledge, new generation of young and ambitious people, and we hope this seed will grow big in the future and bear fruits. We want to give our students the best student experience, back them up with the critical thinking, analytical skills, knowledge, but also an empathy, a compassion and other soft skills.

“Two weeks ago, we welcomed our students to the IAU family. Today we are welcoming them to IAU’s home – the home that they will remember with joy and fond memories when they graduate. The home where they can engage into different activities and develop further your student union, and pitch your ideas and have other stimulating activities and pursue your goals together.”