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Iraq Project Distance Learning

Under the Iraq Project, most IIE-SRF scholars maintained their academic connections to Iraqi students and colleagues while at their host institutions. To broaden these connections, the Iraq Project established the Iraq Scholar Lecture Series (ISLS) in 2009, which recorded academic lectures by 26 Iraqi scholars in the diaspora for distribution and presentation—in DVD format or via live feed—at universities throughout Iraq. Over 300 much needed lectures in fields such as pediatrics, environmental biotechnology, and molecular genetics were made available to thousands of faculty and students at more than 20 Iraqi public and private universities. Some lectures have been incorporated into official course curricula. University presidents and deans alike remarked on the impact the program had by giving its students exposure to the country’s best academic minds no matter their geographic location. By the end of the Iraq Project, the ISLS had delivered a total number of 190 live lectures reaching 2,512 students and 368 faculty members at four Iraqi universities. A summary of those universities and academic fields are noted below:

The IIE-SRF Iraq Distance Learning Initiative continues today. Filling curricular gaps within Iraqi university courses, the lectures in subjects ranging from nanotechnology to renewable energy mitigate the potential for brain drain.

Additionally, the end of Iraq’s 2018 spring academic semester marked the completion of three university courses that were co-developed and co-taught by IIE-SRF Iraqi scholars in Jordan and Turkey. This pilot initiative, the IIE-SRF Joint University Courses Project, aims to fill expertise gaps at participating Iraqi universities and expose them to professors from international academic environments. It supports semester-long university courses that are jointly delivered by IIE-SRF Iraqi scholars outside Iraq and professors inside Iraq, with a focus on newly established and remote universities. The project was implemented in partnership with the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research (MoHESR)’s IIE Coordination Committee.

The pilot courses began in February 2018. An Iraqi scholar of chemical engineering who, in 2009 to 2011, undertook IIE-SRF fellowships at Princess Sumaya University of Technology in Amman, Jordan, delivered undergraduate- and graduate-level courses on statistical analysis to Al-Karkh University of Science and University of Misan, respectively. An Iraqi scholar of communications engineering, offered the course “Digital Signal Processing” to undergraduate students at Al-Iraqia University. Dr. Mahmood is currently pursuing the IIE-SRF fellowship at Atilim University in Turkey after completing a first-year fellowship at Philadelphia University in Jordan.

This initiative is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Department of State.