Oxford in Banja Luka…

Since I wrote a post last year about private universities in the Balkans, I have kept coming across some oddities in the region and beyond associated with private universities. Here is the latest:

I was surprised to see that Paneuropean University Apeiron in Banja Luka won an award from Oxford (“Oxford in Banja Luka”), but this is what its ad proclaimed (see below) on the website of B92. Imagine my surprise that this “Pan-EUropean University for Multidiscipline & Virtual Studies” achieved such recognition.

Of course, it is not quiet so simple. The award was granted by the European Business Assembly (http://www.apeiron-uni.info/). The EBA is “an independent corporation for development and management of economic, social and humanitarian collaboration.” The only connection to the University of Oxford is the location. The organisation seems mostly specialised in organising “high profile” events and handing out awards (the Socrates Awards are given out twice a year). The list of recipients strangely enough requires log in.

The organisation is interestingly linked to the following

- ICL (the International Club of Leaders, President – , UK. ICL – is the association of top-managers of the world’s leading enterprises in the middle category).

- CRE (The Club of the Rectors of Europe, President – Wil Goodheer, Austria. CRE – is an association of rectors, professors and academics from the major university and academic centres of Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa).

- OGMV (Knight Order of Grand Master La Valette, Grand Master пїЅ Professor John W.A. Netting, UK. OGMV – is a chapter of leaders from different spheres of public life that advocate for the triumph of universal human values, humanism and patronage).

- ISC (The International Socrates Committee)

The Club of the Rectors of Europe, is chaired by the rector of the International University of Vienna. This university has no website or rather its domain expired (http://www.iuvienna.edu) and is not listed among the recognized private universities in Austria (http://www.bmwf.gv.at/startseite/hochschulen/privatuniversitaeten/). However, it seems to have now become the Megatrend International University Vienna (MIUV) (http://www.megatrendvienna.at/), as the street address of the old international University and the new Megatrend are identical (http://www.efors.eu/vienna-universities-en/id/1101).  However, as disclaimer on the website states ” Megatrend University owns the operations of former IU including its website only since May 7, 2011. Megatrend is in no way the legal successor of former IU or its owner, the “Verein zur Errichtung und Förderung der “The International University” and is not responsible or liable for any action or omission of them. Should you find any statements or promises of former IU on this website, this is only due to the transition process and will be changed very soon.” Nevertheless, also the Megatrend International University is not listed as a university recognised by the Austrian ministry. The new rector is a different one than the president of the “Club of Rectors of Europe”. The Club of Rectors seems to be also offering its own awards, one recently handed to Slobomir University for Quality in Higher Education (European Quality Award): http://www.spu.ba/eng/european.html

Interestingly, the International Socraties Committee (http://www.ebaoxford.co.uk/International%20Socrates%20Committee/) in charge of”determining the International EBA Award-winning nominations” includes few academics, except of the Afa Bablola University in Nigeria (which also recently got an award in Oxford: http://www.abuad.edu.ng/en), the Euro University in Estonia, a university in Armeina, Nargono-Karabakh and Georgia and Vietnam and Megatrend Universtiy in Serbia.

Of course, we don’t have the list of Socratest Award winners, as the list is not public on the European Business Assembly website. Googeling for the award, we find out that the winners around the globe,  including

Forest Research Institute Malaysia

SHABAVIZ PUBLISHING COMPANY

INTERNATIONAL MARBLE CO. LLC, OMAN (highly recommended viewing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B75CahcNk_o)

Micro Technologies India

Baku State University

Henry Herbert Lartey, Chairman of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), Ghana

Euro College, Macedonia (http://www.eurocollege.edu.mk/vienna/index.htm)

and Megatrend University (http://www.megatrend.edu.rs/fps/str.php?bs=Istorijat&language=1)

and many many others

I recommend also viewing this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eH8JXvNOFo&list=UUe8Tt1HLzgCdCdltjeLrp8g&index=1&feature=plcp

I leave the judgement of what this award means for the Paneuropean University in Banja Luka up to the reader.

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7 Responses to Oxford in Banja Luka…

  1. Pingback: Oxford also in Kosovo, Bossi in Albania « Florian Bieber

  2. Pingback: Normal Name, Strange University: The Global Network of the European University « Florian Bieber

  3. Dennis says:

    Very good investigation mate! It is shocking, how many mock higher education institutions are out there. One probably would not expect them to be located in Europe, but there are heaps of those mills.

  4. ana says:

    Dennis, you are wrong. What is a “mock higher education”? Is not the whole Bologna process a kind of “mock higher education”? Even at the public state universities, the quality of offered education drastically decreased!

  5. Marius says:

    EBA is an obvious awards mill, like some other businesses of this sort. It’s quite embarrassing that so many institutions in Ex-YU fall for this.

    Of course, “Professor” Wil Goodheer is well-known as the “rector” of the defunct “International University of Vienna”, a strange institution best known for 1) somehow dodging Austrian law for decades by operating a “university” giving out worthless diplomas without any accreditation, and 2) being the only institution whose (already shortened) private university accreditation was withdrawn before term. They went bankrupt last year, for good, and there was much rejoicing.

    It’s not quite clear to me what Megatrend University actually inherited from IUV. But after researching the whacky private universities market in Ex-YU for some time, I have to conclude that Megatrend is definitely one of the more serious ones – not necessarily because it’s such a great institution, but because the others are so unbelievably bizarre that even Megatrend seems like a Harvard of sorts in comparison.

    • Marius says:

      BTW, on Megatrend rector Mica Jovanovic’s website, his “International Socrates Award” from EBA becomes an award “from Oxford University”. But then, he’s also a “Knight of the Fleur de Lys”. You don’t mess with knights.

      (OTOH, while it’s not as crazy and the accreditation authorities are a lot more effective, Austria has its share of oddities in the public and private tertiary education sector as well. For instance, a certain public university in a Lower Austrian town known for wine and apricots has a faculty “dean” who just recently and barely got her PhD, but was previously “research director” with a whopping list of zero journal publications. However, her CV sports an impressive speaking engagement at the “Oxford Round Table” – another vanity organisation cashing in on the “Oxford” name and almost as shady as EBA. You’d think that in the age of the Internet, people wouldn’t fall for these scams so easily.)

  6. Pingback: Revisiting New Universities in the Balkans: European Visions, UFOs and Megatrends - Balkanist

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