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2012 marked the tenth anniversary of the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund. In honor of this milestone, IIE-SRF celebrated the 500 remarkable scholars from 50 countries who had the distinction of being awarded IIE-SRF fellowships. To raise awareness of the urgent needs of persecuted academics around the world, and the importance of responding in kind, IIE-SRF featured 10 scholars representing the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund's 10 years of service. News on special anniversary events and publications are also posted.
Dr. Abbas Fadhil Ali
Dr. Abbas Fadhil Ali
Dr. Abbas Fadhil Ali, an accomplished researcher in the field of dentistry, applied to SRF in 2007 after he fled Iraq with his wife and two daughters. Many of his colleagues had been killed or kidnapped after receiving written threats and Dr. Abbas feared for his and his family’s lives when he received a similar missive. He was able to continue his work in safety for two years through an SRF fellowship at the University of Sinai Department of Dentistry. While on fellowship, he delivered lectures and practical workshops on oral biology to students of dentistry. In the past three years, he has dedicated himself to efforts to rebuild higher education in Iraq.
In 2009, Dr. Abbas was able to return to Iraq where he is now Associate Professor in the College of Dentistry at the University of Baghdad. With over 20 years of teaching and research experience in the field of dentistry, his research has focused on bacterial oral flora on oral prostheses and the biocompatibility of different dental materials.
Since his return to Iraq, Dr. Abbas has remained in consistent contact with SRF, and has been involved in innovative projects committed to improving the state of higher education in Iraq. He actively keeps up with new developments in his field and, with the support of SRF, has lectured at the University of Manchester on University of Baghdad accreditation programs and attended two international workshops since his return to Iraq: a training course in cosmetic dentistry in Beirut, Lebanon in October 2010 and an “Introduction to Dental Implantology” training program in Istanbul, Turkey in September 2011, organized by the British Academy of Implant Dentistry. Dr. Abbas notes the importance of learning new areas related to his field for the growth and development of Iraq, saying “this training program gave me a new vision and approach for a relatively new subject in Iraq.”
As a member of Baghdad University’s Accreditation and Quality Assurance Council, a committee chaired by the president of the university and comprised of five heads of department who are responsible for supervising quality assurance measures and developing and implementing a quality assurance strategy for all colleges, institutes and scientific centers of the university, Dr. Abbas was an active participant in the January 2012 IIE/SRF Conference in Iraq on Quality Assurance. He is also one of the seven members of the IIE Iraq Conferences Advisory Group, a small, informal, advisory group who advise IIE conference planners on topics of interest to the Iraqi higher education community.
In April 2012, Dr. Abbas was the Vice Chairman of the first Iraqi Dental Colleges Conference, which attracted 950 participants representing at least 12 Iraqi colleges of dentistry. In spite of the many difficulties involved with the insecurities and limited capabilities in Iraq at this time, Dr. Abbas and the other organizers were able to create a webpage for online registration, print certificates, and present more than ten research projects at the conference.
The Scholar Rescue Fund is pleased to work with Dr. Abbas, and supports his commitment to revitalizing the higher education sector in Iraq.