IIE Impact Newsletter Spring 2022
Spotlight on Education in Emergencies: From the Office of the CEO
(From left to right, Dr. Allan E. Goodman, Courtney Temple, Jason Czyz, Sarah Ilchman)
Today and every day, we honor the students, scholars, and artists who embody strength and resilience in the face of unimaginable odds.
When humanitarian, environmental, or financial crises arise, international students are often isolated without a lifeline of support. IIE’s CEO Allan Goodman discusses why it is critical to support these future leaders.
by Ali Shahidy
I had just arrived to the U.S. from Kabul, Afghanistan. Within two weeks, our government collapsed and the Taliban took over Kabul. We lost our home in Afghanistan and my family went into hiding. I did not receive my salary for three months from the previous government since the war escalated in Afghanistan, and the savings I had were used to support my family when we lost our home. I was in an extremely difficult situation here at my school. I had to pay for my apartment rent, my living expenses, school insurance, general student fees, and book expenses.
The IIE-ESF award has been extremely useful in helping me cover my living expenses such as daily groceries, apartment rent, and utilities. In addition to that, it helped me pay for my school insurance and general student fees. I have also been able to cover my book expenses using the award.
I have been able to help my sisters to get on an evacuation flight after two weeks of the Taliban takeover of Kabul. This was the biggest accomplishment I had since my sisters faced imminent life threats from the Taliban who were looking for my family. They raided our house in the search to capture me and my sisters. I was here in the U.S. but I have been able to use all my resources to get my sisters to the airport and later onboard to an evacuation flight. Furthermore, I filed applications for them to be resettled to a safer country. In addition to my sisters, I have helped numerous other Afghans with their evacuation from Afghanistan and eventual resettlement to countries like the U.S., Canada, and the Netherlands. Despite all the trauma and grief of our loss in Afghanistan, I have been able to focus on my school work as a Ph.D. student.
The majority of challenges I faced were emotional and social. When the Taliban took over Kabul, one of my sisters was stuck at the airport waiting to catch her flight to Turkey but then all flights were canceled. She was stuck there for 24 hours and those were the most terrifying 24 hours of my life. My sister was a TV personality, a social media influencer, and a staunch advocate of women’s liberation in Afghanistan. She has been targeted and received death threats a long time before the Taliban moved to Kabul. Luckily, we were able to sneak her out of the airport without harm. But then my family had to escape to a different place because the Taliban had information about my family and our location. All of these had an immense psychological and emotional impact on me and continue to do so. But I also had academic obligations here. So I had to stay focused. I communicated my issues with my faculty, adviser, and the university staff who were extremely supportive and understanding. At the same time, I had to stay focused on my responsibilities to succeed academically because that was the reason I came.
The financial support that our school has provided has been through my graduate assistantship which waived school tuition and provided a monthly stipend.
I am truly grateful to the IIE for providing me with massive support during an extremely difficult and challenging time of my life. In Afghanistan, we lost our home. Not just the materials and goods and the physical place that we called home, but also our home in a broader sense: we lost our community, our past, our identity, and our future. The city of Kabul is no longer a home for me and my family. But when I arrived, it became my new home. And IIE gave me the ability to overcome my challenges effectively and remain focused on my academic priorities.
Insights from G7 + Partners Higher Education Summit
The high-level annual gathering of international education organizations representing the G7 countries, and seven other partner countries, met in Berlin for the two-day summit from May 4-5. IIE’s Office of the CEO: Dr. Allan Goodman, Jason Czyz, Sarah Ilchman, and Courtney Temple contributed to the discussion centered on the theme of International Academic Cooperation amidst a World in Crisis: Chances and Challenges. Through roundtable dialogues, meetings, and presentations the summit leaders discussed the challenges facing global academic mobility, as well as the critical need to support the increasing number of displaced and threatened students and scholars.
Now more than ever, it is clear from the summit discourse that international collaboration and cooperation is essential to addressing the collective challenges facing our world. Following the summit, the group released the Berlin Declaration on International Academic Cooperation amidst a World in Crisis.
Inclusivity and Equity in International Education
A partnership between IIE and Dickinson College examined the under-explored intersection between intercultural and global learning and diversity, equity, and inclusion. This year, the initiative expanded to a robust three-part workshop series entitled Building Bridges: Committing to Global Equity and Justice in International Education. This series took a deep dive into building equitable and inclusive communities aiming to bridge the gap by bringing practitioners, scholars, and learners from across disciplines, backgrounds, and cultures together to accelerate learning and co-create collaborative approaches to build trust, equity, and justice across cultures for meaningful change locally and globally.
IIE-SRF Endowment Report
As the number of scholars facing dire threats to their safety and work continues to rise, the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund provides crucial emergency assistance and academic opportunities to these individuals in crisis. In 2021, IIE-SRF supported over 200 scholars from 24 countries, in partnership with nearly 100 higher education institutions and other partners in 25 countries. Read the IIE-SRF’s FY21 Endowment Report Summary.
IIE In the News
Fear and Dislocation: Ukrainian Students in U.S. Warily Watch the War – Washington Post
Fear and dislocation: Ukrainian students in U.S. warily watch the war
Ukrainian Students in U.S. Face Emotional, Financial Hardship – Marketplace
Ukrainian students in U.S. face emotional, financial hardship – Marketplace
Ukraine Students in U.S. Cope With War – USA Today
Ukraine students in US cope with war, rally on campus (usatoday.com)
War Creates Financial Woes for Russian, Ukrainian Students – Inside Higher Ed
War creates financial woes for Russian, Ukrainian students (insidehighered.com)
Ukrainian Exchange Students Stranded by Putin’s War – Fox News
Ukrainian Exchange Students Stranded by Putin’s War
Universities Worldwide Step Up to Help Ukrainian Scholars – Christian Science Monitor
Brain gain: Universities worldwide step up to help Ukrainian scholars
You can provide urgently needed aid to students, scholars, and artists who face emergency and displacement.