Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Iraq's First International Office

Even though the progress carried out the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Research seems a bit slow, it is starting to be noticeable. The Ministry's website is overcrowded with buttons to different projects; building new dorms for the universities and colleges across the nation, adopting new curricula, importing new lab and research equipment, and building new institutions. Most importantly, the MHER has revived the study abroad programs, one of the main methods Iraqi maintained a diverse methods of education and enriched the people in the field with cultural knowledge and enlightenment which they carried back to the country.

Unfortunately, most of the programs were terminated a few year into Saddam Hussein's regime. By the beginning of the 90's, all the programs had stopped. It is around the same time when the country's quality ofeducation had deteriorated. AMID EAST, one of the main American organizations that coordinates exchange students programs for Iraqis to study in the United States, was active in Iraq during the 70's, had reopened its offices in Baghdad after 2003 and is currently operating under the permission of the MHER.

As of today, the MHER coordinates many study abroad programs, fellowships, and career development programs with Greece, England, Australia, Sweden, Germany, and a few Arab countries. Those programs give the opportunity to hundreds of Iraqis to travel to foreign countries, take a look at the areas where they are more developed, gain the needed knowledge and experience to transfer the ideas, and eventually applying them at home.

To be the first, the University of Tikrit has opened an International Office on the 6th of the current month. The University announced on the MHER website that the office will help students who are interested in studying abroad to find programs in Canada, Australia, The United States, and The United Kingdom. The office will also help the students with filing their applications and the admission process.

These, in my opinion, are very beneficial achievements. Change is best advocated and achieved through education. As an Iraqi studying abroad, I have already seen many areas of advancement that I can carry back to my country in the future. I am pleased to see some tangible progress; however, it is not enough.


  1. مرحب

    I really enjoyed this article since I am deeply interested in education developments. Knowing what you know about the education developments in Iraq, do you think that many Iraqis studying abroad will be motivated or encouraged to go back home and implement their knowledge and study for the advancement and development of Iraq, or will remain in the place where they have studied abroad? Also, when the Iraqis that do decide to go back home, do you think there will be any problems of working together with their fellow comrades who remained back?

  2. If you apply for a scholarship through the Iraqi government, most of the time, you have to sign an agreement which parts of it entail giving up your home to the government in case you decide to stay. This is one way the Iraqi government can hold students accountable but it doesn't guarantee everyone's return.

    Other students might get scholarships with private organization. In the latter, no one's return is guaranteed.

    Whether they sign the agreement or not, the return of Iraqi students and scholars from abroad will be possible if the Iraqi government opens more doors for foreign investors and of course, it is more likely to happen when the country is more secure.