Helping our friends in Iraq

Published: Thursday 3rd March 2016

ACU has recently committed to assist the Chaldean Archdiocese of Erbil in founding the Catholic University of Erbil in Iraq. 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. ACU is proud to contribute to this journey.

I would like to warmly welcome Mr Nawar Oghanna, Vice-Chancellor for Administrative and Academic Affairs, Catholic University of Erbil, Iraq to ACU and to Australia.

Nawar has joined ACU for a three month professional intensive in university governance and leadership. He commenced his visit on 15 February 2016 and is based at North Sydney campus but will also visit Melbourne and Brisbane campuses during his stay.

Nawar will engage in professional discussions with key university staff in the areas of corporate and academic leadership, business systems, strategic planning, student engagement, partnerships and community engagement.

The skills and knowledge Nawar acquires during his visit will assist the development and sustainability of Catholic University of 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. Later in the year, we will be joined by colleagues of Nawar’s who will undertake Masters programs at ACU.

As part of Pope Francis’ call for a Year of Mercy in 2016, ACU has also donated funds to Catholic University of South Sudan to support a number of student scholarships. Due to the collapse in the Sudanese economy and a subsequent rise in inflation brought about by the continuing war in that country, the Catholic University of South Sudan has been forced to increase its fees.

This has resulted in many students being unable to fund their tuition and having to quit their studies. These scholarships will enable students to continue their education at least for this year.

With every good wish

Professor Anne Cummins

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students, Learning & Teaching)