U.S. embassy scholarships brings diversity to student body
By Salman Ahmed Rasul
14 students from outside of the Kurdish region got full five year scholarship at AUI-S sponsored by U.S.A. Embassy. The previous U.S.A. Ambassador, Christopher Hill, announced in the first MBA graduation ceremony that the U.S.A. embassy would grant $1,000,000 US to provide scholarships for 20 students.
“We awarded 14 scholarships of 20 possible,” said Timothy Doyle, the director of the admissions. “We intend on offering the rest of them next semester. The scholarship recipients are an interesting group. The next semester will be the last time to award the US State Department scholarships.”
This summer the Director of the EWPLI, Rosalind Warfield, and the Assistant to the Research Centers, Nathaniel Rosenblatt, went to Baghdad to evaluate and interview the students.
“Nate and I went to Baghdad on Sep. 28,” said Warfield.
“We interviewed the students on Wednesday and Thursday in the U.S. Embassy in two groups with the Embassy’s representative, Addie Shrader. She is the coordinator of the program for the Embassy.
Forty-five students applied, but only 27 qualified to come and take the test and be interviewed. Two of them had to come to AUI-S for the AEE test, and they both are in the academic pro- gram right now.”
The scholarships were mainly for students from southern Iraq – and therefore mostly Arab students because the U.S. Embassy wants AUI-S to have students from all the regions of Iraq.
“The U.S. State Department has offered a scholarship to incoming students from outside the KRG as an attempt to help diversify AUI-S’ student population,” said Timothy Doyle, director of enrollment and management.
“Their goal is to make our student body as diverse as possible. We have students from different places. We might even get some American students here.
The more different kinds of voices we have, the wider our experience, and the broader our education will be.” said Warfield.
“So, if we want to have a university whose goals are to educate and improve the lives of all Iraqis, then we should be encouraging all Iraqis to apply,” said Rosenblatt. “Now we are in the KRG, so not many people who are in the south of Iraq know about the university.
The goal of the scholarship is to increase the number of people talking about AUI-S outside the KRG.”
Doyle indicated that this is the American university of Iraq-Sulaimani, so it should be for all Iraqis equally. “Although I was not here when the State Department scholarship was offered, I’m speculating that the department thought that they want to help us have AUI-S reflect a wider population of Iraq.
They would do this because we are the American University of Iraq- Sulaimani, and right now we have lots of great Kurdish students, but we can attract even more for other areas,” he said.
“We hope that AUI-S will reflect as much as possible the entire Iraqi people. We do not discriminate, but if generous people wish to assist a limited set of students financially, it is up to them.
We will process their payments, but we don’t seek out sponsors for individual students or groups. If someone--says a student’s grandmother--wishes to pay for her grandchild, we have no problem with that.”
“What we are trying to do is diversify the student body,” said Warfield. “We do not have any way of letting people in the south know that we even existed, except by word of mouth from our students. It is very hard for them to even know we exist, so in this way, the Embassy did all the publicity.”
Polla Kamal, 23, from Kifri, who is an academic student, had distinct perspective about the way the scholarships were offered.
“I strongly disagree with the distinction because there is no reason for depriving the Kurdish students,” Kamal said.
“They are going through the same difficult situation as the Arab students, so both of them are deserve the scholarships. Yes, I agree that diversity is important, but they should use the same standard to judge all of the students equally.
The criteria of selecting should be applied regardless of their ethnicity; otherwise AUI-S stands against its fundamental claims.”
All of the 14 students are so exited for studying at AUI-S, and they think that they have a brighter future at AUI-S.
“I will get a better education here,” said Umniyah Nadhir Mahmood, 18, from Baghdad, and one of the 14 students. “I would like to thank the US embassy in Baghdad and AUI-S. I feel safe to put my future between their hands. I will be ready to serve the US hoping that I can repay them a small part of big help they offered for me.”
“The first reason is that AUI-S is the only university in Iraq which is accredited by the US,” said Baraa Edrees Muhammed, 23, from Samarra who is one of the 14 students.
“Second, there is a high standard of education at AUI-S.
The last reason is AUI-S gives an opportunity to the students to choose their majors. This is why I hope to achieve my goal, which is studying Civil Engineering.”
List of the name of the students and their level of study:
Umniyah Nadhir Mahmood, Academic
Baraa Edrees Muhammed, Academic
Mohammed Abd Alasady, Level 4
Ahmed Abdul-Ameer Abdul-Hasin, Level 4
Muhammad Emad Al_Lelo, Level 3
Ansma Mohammed Altan, Level 3
Laith Raed Alessa Level 3
Maad Waleed Hameed Level 3
Nidda Al-den Khalid, Level 2
Haneen Kasim Muhammad Level 2
Noor Saif Qasim Level 2
Wissam Essan Hadi Level 1
Enaas Basim Najim Level 1
Amal Hasin Alwan Level 1
This story first appeared on auisvoice.org