FIP-UNESCO University Twinning Network for Pharmacists formally Approved by UNESCO
On Tuesday 31st August, the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched a unique global University Twinning and Networking Programme. The Global Pharmacy Education Development network is a UNESCO sponsored initiative hosted under the UNITWIN scheme (for university-twinning). This UNITWIN collaboration is the first ever in the field of higher education for health professionals and the first for global pharmaceutical education.
In bringing together pharmacy schools from all regions of the world with UNESCO and FIP, the UNITWIN Network in Global Pharmacy Education Development (G-PhEd) will enable synchronised and powerful development in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences education and improve communication for scientific innovation, healthcare outcomes, and ultimately, the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Dr Kamal Midha, President of FIP, said of the collaboration “this is an opportunity to make a powerful impact on educational development by bringing together like-minded institutions worldwide, under the unique stewardship that FIP can offer. I am happy that I have been able to guide the development of this project, which fits with the key strategic direction of FIP in the field of global education in our profession as pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists.” FIP, as the global federation bringing together pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists, is leading in fostering pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences education development through its various initiatives and projects.
“It has been a great pleasure to be associated with the development of this special collaborative project” said Project Lead, Professor Ian Bates of the FIP Collaborating Centre at the University of London. “I acknowledge the great efforts of the FIP Taskforce team in bringing this about, and also the vision and dedication to my UNESCO colleagues who have stewarded this project towards this official endorsement today”.
“Because of the nature and flexibility of UNESCO’s global UNITWIN Programme, higher education institutions can respond more readily to the demands for new learning and research in a world undergoing rapid economic, social and technological change”, adds Sonia Bahri, Chief of Section for International Cooperation in Higher Education at UNESCO. “We are delighted to announce the launch of this new UNITWIN Network which stands to make a unique contribution in the field of global pharmacy education”
The UNITWIN G-PhEd will act as a new mechanism for the work of the FIP Pharmacy Education Taskforce, which has been dedicated to developing tools and resources to help tackle challenges of academic capacity, quality assurance of educational systems and workforce competency in both high-resource and low-resource pharmacy education institutions.
G-PhEd Network will foster and encourage a focus on developing relations between the global ‘North’ and ‘South’ in order to establish a resource base and collaborative forum for exchange, research and capacity building in education. In addition, the GPhEd will actively foster excellence in learning and teaching and seek to establish global centres of excellence in the field of higher education, spanning the full scope of undergraduate training and continuing pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences education.
The network will operate from the FIP Collaborating Centre at the School of Pharmacy, University of London. Initially, the UNITWIN network will partner more than 20 universities in 14 countries, with an intent to expand to new members in the initial phase of operation.
“I am very pleased that the school has been able to play a part in supporting this exciting initiative. Importantly it is not UK-centric, rather it brings together pharmacy education from across the globe.” said Professor Anthony Smith, Dean of the School of Pharmacy, University of London.
As the health professionals who have expertise in the development of, access to and optimal use of medicines, pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists are vital to tackling problems such as development of needed medicines, medicines shortages and ensuring appropriate use of medicines for diseases like diabetes, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Placing an emphasis on pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences education can help alleviate these problems and thereby leading to improving healthcare outcomes, and attaining the health-related Millennium Development Goals.
The UNESCO UNITWIN programme seeks to advance research, training and programme development in higher education by building university networks and encouraging inter-university cooperation worldwide. UNITWIN Networks are established through a memorandum of understanding with UNESCO. These networks become poles of excellence and innovation that actively contribute to the development of their respective fields at national, regional and international levels.
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