UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Iraq Education Initiative

051210Feature1_IraqMany highly qualified Iraqi students have been unable to continue or complete their education, due to the years of conflict in Iraq. UNCG will be one of the 25 universities nationwide who’ll pilot a program to provide a solution.

UNCG officials first learned of the pilot program for this initiative last summer. On July 25, the Academy for Educational Development (AED) and the Higher Committee for Educational Development in Iraq (HCED) hosted Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki in Washington, D.C., to announce the launch of the Iraq Education Initiative.

This scholarship program thoroughly screens the applicants and selects the “creme de la creme” – out of 6543 applicants, only 800 have been chosen to apply to the universities. The scholarships fully fund the students’ education. According to a report in Inside Higher Education, the Iraqi Parliament allocated $54 million for the first stage of the program.

Many universities were contacted in the U.S. last year to see if they may be eligible to receive students, explained Pam Harrod, director of international admissions at UNCG’s International Programs Center.

One of the criteria was to have an English language center on campus and to offer conditional admission. Since this university has the INTERLINK Language Center on campus, that helped to meet the requirements. For several months, universities completed a variety of forms and questionnaires to be considered as one of the pilot institutions. The plan was to send approximately 250 students to the U.S. (undergraduate, master’s and PhD candidates) in the first placement.

In November 2009, the university received confirmation from Dr. Zuhair Humadi, executive director, Higher Committee for Education Development, that UNCG had been selected as one of the first 25 institutions in the U.S. to be part of the scholarship program.

To date, two individuals have been admitted as part of this initiative program. Both are being admitted to the Graduate School in Computer Science. A third application, for the MBA program, was recently received as well.

Visual: Some Iraqi students in Baghdad, 2003. Their school had been looted during the war. Photo courtesy USAID. Photographer: Thomas Hartwell.