The State of Iraqi Academia Since the Occupation

Iraq has suffered and is still suffering from a huge brain drain as with the continuing targeted assassinations as well as forced displacement of academics, scientists, doctors, and engineers who make up the bulk of Iraqi society and Iraq’s middle class.   For the past year the assassinations and forced displacement have fallen under the radar although both are still taking place. 
Since 2003, CEOSI has recorded and authenticated 300 assassinations, apart from kidnappings and forced displacement of Iraqi Academics. It has also promoted several actions, such as the approval of a public condemnation by the Conference of Spanish University Chancellors of the assassinations of Iraqi Academics, the celebration of Madrid International Seminar on the Assassination of Iraqi Academics and Health Professionals (23rd April, 2006), the promotion of academic research on the current situation of Iraqi Academics in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam(Hester Luna Paanakker, Higher Education in Iraq Under Attack. An Explorative Study on the Political Violence Against Academics and the Higher Education System in the Conflict in Iraq). (Full text and Summary), and collaboration with other initiatives such as BRussells Tribunal.
This working group is a new step in our effort to denounce the systematic attacks on Iraqi Academics. The reports created by this working group will be an instrument to pressure international organizations to remember this issue, as well as to force them to act.
The purpose of this new network is to draw a base line of the actual situation of Iraqi Academia since the occupation in March 2003, focusing on three axes:  1 – The effects of the occupation on the universities, 2 – Academic freedom in Iraq, and 3 –Governance of universities. These three axes would concentrate on the effects of the Occupation’s policies and their collaborators as well as that of the militias on the higher education system, the impunity of those who committed crimes against the Academic community, on the independence and freedom of academia and universities, and on who rules the universities, with special attention to corruption within the universities and the presence of sectarian policies on the campuses.   
We have set up an embryo of a reporting network within various universities and intend to enlarge this reporting mechanism all of which reports will be corroborated by cross referencing and cross checking. The network is being established in a number of Iraqi universities which would cover the whole of Iraq where we would be trying to gather information and facts in order to provide us with a complete picture of existing circumstances and events on the ground. The sources will always remain confidential and their privacy will be guarded for security and safety reasons. We would try to keeping up a permanent widespread network that will be updating us with information regularly.
We would be looking for as much information as possible, which will be available to the interested public on the blog, which will contain updated news of interest for Iraqi academics, programs of international organizations, any information on new laws related to education and academia, as well as any related news all in order to create a preliminary report which would cover the baselines of the Iraqi Academic situation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: