An American University in Iraq

Around 150 miles north of Baghdad, the year-old American University of Iraq-Sulaimani is beginning to transform Iraq’s educational landscape by introducing its students to Western-style learning.

Jane Arraf, writing for the Christian Science Monitor, said the 256 students, most of them undergraduate, are encouraged to debate, think freely and question critically, instead of sitting quietly and being lectured to.

Officials and investors of the private school hope the students will become the educated, politically astute leaders the country will need throughout its reconstruction.

Many of the students have never used a computer or written essays, the Monitor said.

The school’s curriculum currently highlights topics that will have immediate practical consequences for Iraq’s economy and political stability.

Barham Salih, the university’s founder, told the Monitor that the 15 professors are “focusing on areas where Iraq’s future depends on critically,” such as business, management and information technology.

Students, most of whom are on scholarships, are also required to engage in community service.

–Julia Hengst/


“University brings American-style learning to Iraq”
The Christian Science Monitor, December 8, 2008

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