The Academic Preparatory Program (APP) at American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS), in collaboration with the University of Sulaimani, hosted a teacher-centered webinar titled "Online Teaching in Undergraduate Studies: Community, Equity, and Self-Guided Learning" on April 15 and 17, 2021. The webinar was a first-time collaboration between the two universities to tackle the current issues of online learning and teaching, with a strong focus on building an online community. Over two days, 80-100 active participants set goals for themselves as online teachers, and used the event to appeal for greater support from other stakeholders (institutions and society). On the first day, the webinar kicked off by highlighting trends and challenges observed from both universities during the Covid Pandemic to discuss solutions for the future of technology in the KRG education system. On the second day, teachers from both universities took on various training sessions on how to conduct successful online classes and to promote equity among students. The project was successfully executed by David Courtney, M.A. (APP Faculty), Zimkitha Mpatheni, M.A. (Deputy Director for APP), Dr. Shilan Ali Hamasur, Ph.D. (Faculty), and Ms. Fatimah Jalal Tahir, M.A. (Faculty and Teacher Quality Assurance Manager).
American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) presented the APP Virtual Graduation Ceremony on Monday, August 31, 2020 at 4PM AST. Click the "CC" at the bottom of the video screen to choose your language for subtitles. في أسفل الشاشة لاختيار لغة الترجمة CC اضغط على کلیک بکە لە خوار ڤیدیۆکەدا بۆ هەڵبژاردنی زمانی ژێرنووس
Seventy-two students in the Academic Preparatory Program (APP) at American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) graduated September 3, 2018, in a ceremony before their friends, families, and instructors. APP at AUIS is in its tenth year at the University and is accredited by the U.S. Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA). It is the only U.S.-accredited, university-level English language preparatory program in Iraq and the Kurdistan region. After graduation, students have the necessary proficiency in English reading, speaking, and writing, as well as university-level math skills and awareness of academic culture and expectations to succeed in their first year of undergraduate studies at AUIS. "We are so very proud of our most recent graduates,” said APP Deputy Director Rachel Ramey. “They have shown how dedicated they are in APP and we know that they will continue to be successful as they move into the undergraduate program."
Students received certificates for successfully completing APP courses, which prepare students to enter AUIS’s undergraduate programs. The three-year program features intensive English and Math instruction, with a heavy focus on developing critical thinking skills.
Congratulations to Ronny Saeed, this semester's APP Writing Contest Winner! Ronny is currently a level 2 student who shows great dedication to her school work and is a valuable member of the AUIS community.
On this trip, students learned about the endangered Persian Leopard and the park’s efforts to bring back the endangered animal species. Hana Raza from Nature Iraq gave an informative talk to the students regarding the remaining Persian Leopards in Iraq. She discussed current developments and strategies, including a new rainwater harvesting dam for the leopard and other animals, and the use of GPS technology. Korsh Ararat, a bird specialist from University of Sulaimani, explained different birds native to the area. Students learnt to use a spotting scope and binoculars to view and identify various species of birds visible at the site. Some of the birds identified were the Golden Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Eagle Owl, Crested Lark, Magpie, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Eurasian Jay, Western Rock Nuthatch, and Northern Raven. A long-time supporter and collaborator of AUIS service learning projects, Nabil Musa from Waterkeepers Iraq-Kurdistan, also joined the outing and talked to students about the benefits of protecting Iraq’s waterways and of his organization's efforts not only in the Nature Reserve but in Iraqi-Kurdistan as a whole. Shoxan Babarasul, from Kurdistan Botanical Foundation and the Environment Keepers student group were also in attendance to support and interact throughout the day. The Environment Keepers will be working with the park’s organizers to gain experience in the field in conservation and help with efforts to protect the endangered Persian Leopards. Hozan Hamza, park ranger from the Qaradagh Forestry Police, discussed the challenges the park’s habitat and species face and about their efforts to help support the park’s efforts and mission. Each speaker elicited spirited questions and discussion amongst the AUIS students. Students then went on a 45 minute hike to the top of Mount Jazhna to help the organization set a camera trap. Along the way, students learnt to identify various animal species such as the Wild Goat and European Hare just by looking at their scat (animal feces). The day ended with students practicing responsible ecotourism by “leaving no trace” of garbage from their hike.
Each of the stories tackle social justice issues that have been overlooked. Some are centered around gender-based violence, whether it's the trafficking of young girls to fill brothels for UN peacekeepers or sexual assault that happens in the military. “People are surprised that this stuff happens” she said. Some readers have told her the realness of the stories can be too difficult to read, but Poppe argues, “It’s fictionalized but based on reality, and many young girls have experienced it.” She emphasizes the importance of giving voice to oppressed women through the retelling of their stories. “What I wanted this book to do was to start conversations that have fallen by the wayside.” Poppe travels and her journalistic eye provides a constant inspiration for her work. She mentions life in the West Bank where she also taught, and relates Palestinian struggles to the Kurdish cause. “They are both subjugated people within territories where they have a claim to land and their claim is not recognized.” The idea of identity is a big theme in the book. “[the stories] are about identity and loss, and who we are when our lives get derailed,” she said. When asked if she would teach any of the stories to her students at AUIS, Poppe replied, “I would definitely teach the story “Kurdistan”. It's a story that students can relate to. It’s mostly about being a stranger in a strange land and getting over loss.” One of the stories, "Room 308" was recently taught in a creative writing class at Rutgers University. The story was also recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize in fiction, and it has been named a 2017 35 Over 35 Debut Book Award winner. In 2018, the book was nominated as a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize, as well as the Eric Hoffer Montaigne Medal and First Horizon Award for "superior work by a debut author". Girl, World can be bought in print and as an E-book on Amazon, or through Laughing Fire Press. The Massachusetts Review: Girl, World Radio Interview with WBEZ Buy Girl, World on Amazon 35 Over 35 Book Award On Female Pain, Sympathy, and Taking Up Space in Girl, World The US Review of books