The kick-off meeting of the MERGE project took place on June 17-18, 2020, and was organised by Agora Institute and the University of Genoa, the project coordinator. The meeting gathered all consortium partners (University of Genoa, Agora Institute, Lucian Blaga din Sibiu University, Anna University, BAMU University, Mid – Westerns University, Tribhuvan University, Kabul University, and Nangarhar University), and focused on the exchange of information and experiences about internationalisation practices at the partner Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
The two-day meeting was properly organized according to the schedule proposed by the coordinator: presentation of each partner, work packages, objectives, responsibilities, and key dates. The first event of MERGE was an excellent opportunity for the consortium to get to know each other, discuss the implementation of the project, and clarify questions on the impact of COVID-19 on its development. Furthermore, it also facilitated a lively discussion and debate about how to deal with this relevant issue for the advancement of HEIs in Asia in the upcoming years.
For the next three years, MERGE will improve the internationalisation practices through strengthening institutional capacity in South Asian HEIs on a local, regional, and national level, particularly in Afghanistan, Nepal, and India. More specifically, the project will a) strengthen institutional capacity in implementing internationalisation through tailor-made trainings and accrediting strategic plans for the institutional development on internationalisation and international relations offices (IROs) and b) encourage national awareness and regional integration through establishing a regional network on internationalisation on higher education in SA.