The Embassy of Iraq, with the support of the U.S. Department of State, hosted a two-day “Iraqi American University Conference” at the Madison Hotel in Washington, on February 22-23, 2012. The conference brought together leaders of more than 50 academic institutions from both countries with the aim of expanding academic exchanges, linkage opportunities, and research collaborations between the two countries. Dr. Ali Al-Adeeb, Iraq’s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, led a delegation of 10 Iraqi universities who came to the United States to meet with U.S counterparts. The U.S. and Iraqi officials called for more university partnerships and expanded opportunities for Iraqi students to study in the United States.
The Institute of International Education (IIE) assisted the Embassy of Iraq in planning the conference, and IIE experts led several sessions. IIE's President and CEO, Allan E. Goodman, moderated a session on trends in Iraqi higher education that featured the presidents of Anbar University, Kerbela University, Mosul University, Science and Technology University Baghdad, and the Deputy Director of the Iraqi Board of Medical Specialties.
Daniel Obst, Deputy Vice President of International Partnership at IIE, led a panel discussion on building partnerships between U.S. and Iraqi universities, with a focus on the elements of success and best practices for initiating and sustaining institutional linkages. Daniela Kaisth, IIE Vice President for Strategic Development, participated in a panel on the role of U.S. organizations in Iraq. Ms. Kaisth discussed IIE's role in encouraging major progress on higher education development efforts in Iraq through a series of conferences in Iraq (see related links), and discussed best practices in managing and implementing large-scale scholarship programs based on IIE's successful implementation of the Brazil Science Without Borders program.
Representatives of several of the major Iraqi scholarship programs provided the U.S. educators with an update on the programs and also emphasized their goal to send more of their students to the United States. Of the thousands of students currently on Iraqi government scholarships, only several hundred of them are pursuing their graduate degrees in the United States, with higher numbers going to other host countries, such as the UK, Germany, or even Malaysia. The Government of Iraq’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, which provides scholarships for Master’s and PhD studies abroad, announced a dramatic increase in the budget for the scholarship program and will provide 10,000 scholarships in the next years.
Institute of International Education
The Institute of International Education (IIE) was founded in 1919. It is one of the world’s most experienced higher education and exchange organizations. IIE’s mission is to foster mutual understanding and develop global leaders through international education.