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European schools seeking institute validation

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RIBA council

The riba has been approached by two architectural schools at universities in the European Union in a groundbreaking quest for vaildation.

The riba's education director, Chris Colbourne, made the revelation last week following a lunchtime talk by past president Frank Duffy on the need for the institute to develop a 'global institute' in the light of trade barriers coming down worldwide.

'You can bet your life that if the rest of the network knows about it then it'll happen,' said Colbourne of the moves. He refused to reveal which schools were seeking riba validation, but disclosed that Krakow University in Poland has requested to accompany the riba on a visiting board, after initially making contact one year ago.

The riba currently validates 35 schools in the uk and 58 overseas. Two of the 58 are from Europe but both are from outside the eu - from Switzerland and Finland. More and more inquiries are coming from countries like Russia, Poland, Chile and other countries in South America.

Meanwhile, Duffy's speech stressed the need for the riba to build on advantages such as the uk's imperial history and language with what he branded the dti's 'enormous interest' in what the riba could do for the British economy. This, he said, was echoed by the Department for Environment Transport and the Regions and by the British Council's national agenda. It was a wonderful opportunity to develop on a world stage, he said, and would be enriched by the riba's 'too late' decision to open up its awards to buildings on the continent.

David Taylor

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