On Friday night here in NYC, I attended the first Gala dinner of a group called Jusoor. Arabic for “bridges,” Jusoor aims to build a more peaceful and prosperous Syria by connecting the 20 million people in Syria with the 20 million people in the Syrian diaspora throughout the world. Like IIE, their focus is education.
The dinner began with a moment of silence for all those killed in the conflict over the past 20 months, but the mood at the Gala was upbeat and inspirational. An Arabic orchestra played patriotic songs, an art auction raised funds for scholarships, and several young Syrian students spoke movingly about their hope for a better future.
In September at the Clinton Global Initiative, IIE joined with Jusoor, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), and EducationUSA-Syria to mobilize emergency support for threatened Syrian students and scholars. In addition to IIE Scholar Rescue Fund Fellowships, IIE Emergency Student Fund grants, and IIT scholarships, we called upon the universities of the world to help.
On Friday night, I was honored to make a special announcement to Jusoor’s Gala attendees: Building off our momentum from CGI, IIE has convened more than 33 universities and other organizations to provide over $1.3 million in scholarships for Syrian students and host Syrian scholars through the IIE Syria Consortium for Higher Education in Crisis. With our partners, IIE is now developing an innovative online portal to connect Syrians needing help with consortium partners offering it.
We and our Syrian friends are inspired by and thankful for how many people in our worldwide higher education community are willing to help those in need during crises. Through education, we are giving hope. And that is the most valuable gift of all.
How you can help
In March, IIE’s Emergency Student Fund (ESF) gave over $90,000 to Syrian students in the U.S. who could not access resources to continue funding their own education through the Syria Emergency Student Fund. These grants enabled 46 students across the country to continue their degree programs in fields instrumental to Syria’s future, such as engineering, surgery, journalism, business administration and education.
Syrian students again need our help.
As the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, students face extreme financial need and the emotional turmoil of seeing friends and family back home being trapped, displaced or killed.
Please help us to meet this urgent need by donating to IIE’s Syria-ESF today (you can designate your online gift to Syria-ESF).