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The IIE-SRF Iraq Distance Learning Initiative is a continuation of the Iraq Scholar Lecture Series under the Iraq Scholar Rescue Project. 

IIE-SRF Iraq Distance Learning Initiative (2018 - present)

The U.S. Department of State is continuing to support IIE-SRF’s efforts to strengthen connections between displaced Iraqi scholars and university students, professors, and institutions of higher education inside Iraq. A new grant allows IIE-SRF to expand its Iraq Distance Learning Initiative (DLI), which fills curricular and expertise gaps at Iraqi higher education institutions; facilitates the exchange of scientific and technical expertise between Iraqi faculty in the diaspora and those inside the country; and supports the rebuilding process at several of Iraq’s universities that have been impacted by conflict. 

 IIE-SRF is carrying out three core activities:

  1. The IIE-SRF Live Lectures Project, which provides opportunities for IIE-SRF scholars from Iraq to deliver live-streamed guest lectures or series of lectures to students and faculty at Iraqi universities.
  2. The IIE-SRF Joint Courses Project, which supports the development and broadcasting of university and training courses at Iraqi universities. Courses are co-organized and jointly delivered by Iraqi scholars outside Iraq and university professors inside the country.
  3. An event in Jordan that brings together DLI participants and IIE-SRF Iraqi scholars to discuss Iraq’s higher education needs and possible interventions.

Undergraduate engineering students at Al-Iraqia University received certificates upon
completion of "Digital Signal Processing," a course co-taught by IIE-SRF scholar Dr. Musaria
Karim Mahmood.

The end of Iraq’s 2018 spring academic semester marked the completion of three university courses that were co-developed and co-taught by IIE-SRF Iraqi scholars in Jordan and Turkey. This pilot initiative, the IIE-SRF Joint University Courses Project, aims to fill expertise gaps at participating Iraqi universities and expose them to professors from international academic environments. It supports semester-long university courses that are jointly delivered by IIE-SRF Iraqi scholars outside Iraq and professors inside Iraq, with a focus on newly established and remote universities. The project was implemented in partnership with the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research’s IIE Coordination Committee.

The pilot courses began in February 2018. An Iraqi scholar of chemical engineering who, in 2009 to 2011, undertook IIE-SRF fellowships at Princess Sumaya University of Technology in Amman, Jordan, delivered undergraduate- and graduate-level courses on statistical analysis to Al-Karkh University of Science and University of Misan, respectively. An Iraqi scholar of communications engineering, offered the course “Digital Signal Processing” to undergraduate students at Al-Iraqia University. Dr. Mahmood is currently pursuing the IIE-SRF fellowship at Atilim University in Turkey after completing a first-year fellowship at Philadelphia University in Jordan.

This initiative is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the U.S. Department of State.

During the Iraq Scholar Rescue Project (2007-2014)

During their fellowships at host institutions around the world, most of the scholars supported by IIE-SRF’s Iraq Scholar Rescue Project maintained their academic connections to Iraqi students and colleagues. To broaden these connections, the program established the Iraq Scholar Lecture Series (ISLS), which recorded academic lectures by Iraqi scholars in the diaspora for distribution and presentation—in DVD format or via live feed—at universities throughout Iraq. Over 300 much-needed lectures in fields such as pediatrics, environmental biotechnology, and molecular genetics were made available to thousands of faculty and students at more than 20 Iraqi public and private universities. Some lectures have been incorporated into official course curricula. University presidents and deans alike have remarked on the impact the program has had by giving its students exposure to the country’s best academic minds no matter their geographic location.

By the end of the Iraq Scholar Rescue Project, the ISLS had delivered a total number of 190 live lectures reaching 2,512 students and 368 faculty members at four Iraqi universities. A summary of those universities and academic fields are noted below: