Education opportunities for Iraqi youth

Published: Wednesday 2nd November 2016

A message from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students, Learning &Teaching) Professor Anne Cummins:

Dear Colleagues,

At IFCU last year, ACU and several other Catholic universities made a commitment to the Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil, Archbishop Basha Warda, to assist with the establishment of the Catholic University in Erbil (CUE).  The university was officially inaugurated on 8 December 2015 and will embrace the young Christian and Yezidi men and women who were forcefully displaced from their homelands in the Plain of Nineveh in Mosul by ISIS forces.

Muslim, Christian and Yezidi students have been welcomed to the university with an aim to shape a new and promising future for Iraq and the region. Currently there are approximately 40 students enrolled at CUE and they are undertaking intensive English classes until faculties and curricula are installed.

ACU has offered support in a number of ways to assist the expansion of the new university. One recent activity was the facilitation of a three-month professional intensive at ACU for Mr Nawar Oghanna, Vice-Chancellor for Administrative and Academic Affairs, Catholic University in Erbil.  Mr Oghanna has carriage of the governance, leadership and administrative operation of CUE. Mr Oghanna was based at North Sydney campus but also visited Strathfield, Melbourne and Brisbane campuses during his stay.

The skills and knowledge Mr Oghanna acquired during his visit will assist the development and sustainability of Catholic University in Erbil. Educational opportunities for Iraqi youth are critical in order to build a secure and reliable future where they may contribute to the wellbeing of the Iraqi nation.

ACU also hosted a visit by Dr Salahaddin Messiah, Chancellor of CUE, from 29 August to 5 September 2016.  Dr Messiah held meetings with key staff engaged in the identity and mission of ACU, including the embedding of Catholic intellectual thought into the curriculum, in order to further develop and sustain the Catholicity of his new university. Dr Salahaddin held discussions with the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and Pro Chancellor, which formally strengthens the links between ACU and CUE.

ACU has also offered tuition scholarships to seven Masters students to study in Australia, commencing in February 2017. These students will be the new academic leaders of CUE and on their return to Iraq will teach courses of relevance to Iraqi youth in Health, Education, Business, International Relations and IT.

The following students have accepted offers to ACU:

  • Master of Public Health (Melbourne) – Mr Vana Qaselyas
  • Master of Education (Melbourne) – Ms Nisha Marqs
  • Master of Business Administration (Melbourne) – Mr Laven Shangula and Mr Alan Quessillyas
  • Master of Business Administration (North Sydney) – Ms Maryam Aal Dalo
  • Master of Health Administration (Brisbane) – Dr Saveen Oghana and his wife Ms Ban Isaqi. Saveen and Ban are currently undertaking English studies at ACU’s North Sydney campus prior to their move to Brisbane in the New Year.
  • Master of Educational Leadership (North Sydney) – Fr Dankha Abdulmasih. Fr Abdulmasih is also currently undertaking English for Academic Purposes with Ban and Saveen.

We look forward to welcoming these students from CUE. This is a small but positive thing that we can do as a community while our television screens are showing such suffering in the Middle East.

With every good wish

Professor Anne Cummins
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students, Learning & Teaching)