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In 2006, the Board of Trustees of American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) set out to establish an institution dedicated to offering a truly comprehensive liberal arts education, based on the American model, for the benefit of Kurdistan, Iraq, and the wider region.
This new university opened its doors in 2007 with the determination to provide an alternative to the “lecture-memorize-repeat” model of education so prevalent elsewhere in Iraq and the Middle East. Forty-five students from across Iraq were admitted to the first undergraduate class; simultaneously, the University launched an MBA program for professional students to study business and leadership at the graduate level.
The University has grown significantly in the ensuing years. AUIS now offers undergraduate degree programs in 23 different programs. These programs, taught in English by international faculty members, are designed to encourage critical thinking and lifelong learning, and have a lasting impact not only on our students’ futures but also on the future of the entire region.
The more than 1,400 students at AUIS represent the region’s diverse ethnic and religious landscape as the University continues to be the destination of choice for top students from all over the Kurdistan region, Iraq, and beyond. The student body is therefore composed of Kurdish and Arab Iraqis, Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, Christians and Yezidis, and more.
It is part of the University’s mission to provide its graduates with responsible character and with the necessary knowledge and skills for professional and national leadership. Students are prepared for successful careers in a modern, pluralistic society and in a global environment. The educational programs at AUIS develop strength in critical thinking, the ability to communicate well, a strong work ethic, good citizenship, and personal integrity. A broad-based education rooted in the American liberal arts tradition as well as skills development is achieved at the University through teaching excellence, quality scholarship, and caring student services.