It was once known as the Harvard of the Middle East. But decades of isolation, followed by war and looting, left the University of Baghdad in ruins. In fact all of Iraq’s universities were once regarded as bastions of higher learning, producing some of the brightest thinkers in the region.
Today, these institutions are plagued by crumbling infrastructure, looted libraries, power outages, and the constant threat of violence. And then, there’s the “brain drain.” Thousands of Iraq’s best and brightest left during Saddam Hussein’s rule. That exodus continues but it’s worse than that. Dozens of Iraqi academics have been assassinated in the last two years.
Money is coming in for books, buildings and teachers. But will it be enough to rebuild Iraqi universities, and create an academic home for the next generation?
Beriwan Khailany, Iraq’s Deputy Minister of Science
Mosa Al-Mosawe, President of the University of Baghdad
Mahdi Taleb, Dean of the College of Science at the University of Baghdad