In February 2009, during the visit of the German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Baghdad, a Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of a Strategic Academic Partnership was signed between the DAAD and the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. According to this MoU the DAAD started in the same year a new funding program called “Higher Education Partnerships with Iraq”. This program was designed to strengthen the Iraqi university system through German-Iraqi academic exchange and cooperation. Two kinds of measures were implemented: First, scholarship programs for Iraqi master and doctoral students at German universities and second, special field cooperation projects among German and Iraqi universities. One of the five projects of this kind, the Baghdad-Erbil-Erlangen-Project (BEEP) was entrusted to the FAU and successfully run from 2009 to 2014.

Signing Memorandum of Understanding
between the president of the University Erlangen-Nürnberg Prof. Dr. Karl-Dieter Grüske and (from left to right) the president of the University of Baghdad, Prof. Dr. Mosa J.A. Al-Mosawe, the vice president of the Salahaddin University, Dr. Mohammed Mochtar, and the vice president of the Mustansiriya University, Prof. Dr. Fadhil A. J. Al-Amri.

The purpose of the BEEP was to foster the existing cooperation between the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg and the universities of Bagdad, Mustansiriya and Salahaddin by implementing the following four new programs:

1. The German-Iraqi Dual Degree Master Program in Economics was created as a joint study program of the four partner Universities of the BEEP. In cooperation agreements signed in 2010, the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Theology of the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg and the Colleges of Administration and Economics of the three Iraqi partner universities agreed to offer their students the opportunity to complete a significant portion of the studies of their home institution at the partner institution, and, in cases where the curricular requirements of both institutions are met, to receive both the Master of Science (MSc.) degree in Economics from the Universities of Baghdad, Mustansiriya or Salahaddin, respectively, and the Master of Arts (MA) Degree in Development Economics and International Studies from the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. Students on the two-year study program were required to spend one year in Iraq and one year in Erlangen-Nürnberg. Since the signing of the cooperation agreements on this study program in 2010, 12 Iraqi and four German students with a B.A. or B.Sc. degree in economics were awarded a one year BEEP scholarship to study at the respective partner university and have successfully completed their studies.

2. The German-Iraqi Joint Degree Doctoral Program in Economics was designed as a joint study program of the four partner Universities of the BEEP and structured as a three-year doctoral program with integrated research and study components and intensive supervision. Doctoral students complete their first year of study in Iraq, the second in Erlangen-Nürnberg and the third either in Erlangen-Nürnberg (German students) or in Iraq (Iraqi students), respectively. The Ph.D. is awarded as a „Joint Degree“. The doctoral thesis is completed under the joint supervision of a German and an Iraqi professor. Nein Iraqi and four German Ph.D. students were awarded a BEEP scholarship within this program and have successfully completed their degree program.

3. The purpose of the Post-doctoral Scholarship Program of the BEEP was to enable Iraqi scientists to conduct their research projects in an appropriate academic environment and to get in close contact to and exchange with their colleagues at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg and other German universities. They were endowed with a fully equipped office room at the Center for Iraq Studies (CIS) and had access to libraries and other research facilities of the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. Since the begin of the BEEP program in 2009, ten Iraqi and two German scientists with a Ph.D. degree in economics were awarded a one year post-doctoral scholarship of the BEEP.

4. Annual Research Symposia of BEEP in Erlangen and Annual Research Workshops in Erbil were further key elements of the BEEP enabling the academics from the partner universities to identify research questions of mutual interest and to exchange research results in different topics, as well as to deal with administrative issues of the BEEP joint programs. (For the programs and the lists of attendants of these symposia and workshops visit Past Events.)

With the completion of the Baghdad-Erbil-Erlangen-Project (BEEP) in 2014, the CIS initiated in 2015 a new DAAD sponsored program, the Iraqi-German Academic Cooperation Network (IG-CON), which is aimed to encompass all Iraqi and German universities or university departments, respectively, interested in bilateral or multilateral academic exchange, teaching or research activities among these two countries. (For more visit IG-CON).