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auis blog

What I Learned at an Exchange Program

I chose to take my photo in Washington D.C. in front of the KRG representation office. I am a senior Mechanical Engineering student at AUIS. I travelled to the United States to participate in an exchange program by the U.S. State Department called SUSI, Study of US Institutes. Ours was a five week program hosted by Temple University and Dialogue Institute.  The program was on Religious Pluralism and Democracy in the United States. This program was one of the best experiences, if not the best, I have had in my life so far. The program included many lectures, activities, and site visits to different religious, cultural and governmental places. The aim of the program was to expose us, twenty student leaders from Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, and Lebanon, to American democracy and the religiously pluralistic communities in the country. During the five week program, we lived in Temple University's campus in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for the first three and a half weeks. We spent three days in New York and visited different states including Georgia, North and South Carolinas, and Washington D.C. We also got a glimpse of other states like New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia by driving through them. I want to tell my community, including AUIS, that I will be working very hard to share what I have learned during this program with them. I will put as much time and energy as I can into projects and educational programs and activities in hope for a better Kurdistan, a better Middle East and a better world. Through this message, I want to ask my people, my university, AUIS, especially, to aid and support us in the activities we have planned for the future. I look forward to sharing my experiences with you all. Peace and Love,  Hastiar Sheikhani  

Welcoming our New AUIS Eagles

  Faculty blog by Caitlin Smith, APP Instructor Orientation week- a time when new students are confused, returning students are enthusiastic, and teachers are both! This orientation saw a record number of new students being introduced to campus life here at AUIS. Nearly 300 new students arrived last week and were quickly welcomed by volunteer students from upper Academic Preparatory Program (APP) levels and the undergraduate program. Students were shown around the campus, including the new math center (just next to the cafeteria, if you didn’t catch a tour) before being introduced to their teachers. At AUIS we have a strong sense of community, and this was the theme of the week. To help develop this sense, teachers ran activities that helped students to get to know their classmates, and to get to know the campus better. An introductory IT session in the labs will hopefully mean that students are more comfortable with the technical side of being a student. To welcome everyone fully to AUIS, everyone found several emails from Mr. Oliver, the Director of Student Services, waiting in their brand new email accounts! The orientation week was meant to end with a picnic at Lake Dukan, which was planned by our wonderful student volunteers. Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate, so students instead met in the conference hall on Thursday. They were greeted by the Acting President, Dr. Esther Mulnix, and welcomed into the university community with an AUIS shirt that everyone put on to become part of the AUIS family. This quick ceremony was followed by games and dancing in the hall. The students who stayed were challenged with games that included tug-of-war, tower building, arm wrestling, and more. We are very excited about this coming semester, and wish our new and returning students the best of luck for Fall 2015.     (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = "//"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); Welcome to the new students In this short video, AUIS Instructors - Seth Voytek and Rachel Ramey - welcome the 300 new students who start their Academic Preparatory Program (APP) at AUIS this Fall. Posted by The American University of Iraq - Sulaimani on Monday, October 26, 2015  

AUIS: Constantly Improving

Paul Craft, former director of Enrollment at AUIS
AUIS started as just an idea. After eight years, this vision is much more than partially realized: AUIS is a maturing organization on an amazing campus with successful graduates around the country and the world. When I arrived in 2010 to work for the administration, AUIS was still in early maturing phase, located on our original, temporary campus of portable cabins. University revolved around a few key people and functions – few systems were in place. Since my arrival, each day, each year, the university has worked to improve itself, to propel itself forward despite challenges and uncertainties. We have had a singular goal, really: improve. This drive for improvement is, in my opinion, the core value of AUIS.  AUIS drives improvement in a few different ways: educational progress within our students, organizational improvements over time, intercultural progress within the American and foreign faculty and, finally, a wide sort of social progress made within the higher education system of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. The liberal arts education experience of AUIS allows students to grow and learn as individuals. My greatest joy at AUIS is to see the progress that students make in their lives during their university experience: improving their English, learning about complicated, modern skills in labs and on computers, taking on new internships and jobs, starting new club. Every day, students put in work, driving themselves forward to a better, more educated life. This level of progress is clear in all students, but especially cases like Peshawa or Mahdi, cases that started in cities like Halabja or Rania and are now successful on the international job market. AUIS has also improved as an organization. Starting an totally unprecedented university in Iraq is a challenge – an environment like Sulaimani, Kurdistan, Iraq is constantly shifting and changing. Planning is not always easy, new challenges arise regularly that the administration cannot control. But, despite, the university has pushed ahead with creative ideas, new plans, new efforts. Gradually, over time, AUIS has learned how to better attract students, how to better manage its internal systems like registration, how to better manage it resources. As the organization progresses, the students, faculty and staff all benefit. AUIS also helps Americans and other ex-pats improve our understanding of Kurdistan and Iraq. Coming into AUIS, most of us have very little nuanced understanding of Sulaimani, the KRG or Iraq – maybe we have read books or watched CNN, but there is often a lack of depth to our insights. Every day, we encounter cultural and social differences. However, AUIS allows us to work side-by-side with our Iraqi colleagues and students. Because of this open, inclusive spirit, foreigners like myself make progress in understanding the world. Finally, and importantly, AUIS is helping to improve the higher education system of the Kurdistan Region. AUIS leads by example. We do not simply “copy and paste” the same programs and curriculum as other universities in the country. We are not driven by profit, we are entirely non-profit. We try to use the most modern, open teaching techniques possible. We intentionally blaze a new path, introducing new ideas and techniques into the Kurdistan Region for others to see. We force others to be better. On a personal level, it is been a great honor and responsibility to help AUIS grow. I have learned a lot in my time – a lot about universities, about Sulaimani, about Kurdistan, about life… Thanks to AUIS, I have improved as well.

To AUIS Class of 2015, Set Your Goals High!

The AUIS 2015 Commencement brought tears of joy to my eyes. I was following the commencement pictures and videos that were shared by my fellow AUIS friends one by one. I didn’t pass any picture or video without either proudly liking or commenting on it. It just felt amazing! As an AUIS alumnus, I felt incredibly proud to see so many AUIS friends receiving the most prestigious degree one can achieve in the country - an AUIS degree. I would like to leave my message to all the AUIS Class of 2015 graduates. Warm congratulations my friends! You all truly deserve this big achievement and success! As a friend of each one of you, I would like to ask you to set your goals high; you will get them with this degree and the knowledge you have gained at AUIS. There is a bright future and new adventures waiting right around the corner for all of you. Please do not be afraid to aim high or to take up new challenges.  Do not be shy of applying to high positions or multinational companies locally or abroad. You can do it! I am currently working for one of the most well-known multinational companies in the world - Cisco Systems. I’m sharing a message to show you how much you will be able to accomplish through what  you have learned at AUIS; to let you know that you should feel confident to accept the most challenging works regionally or internationally. Dear Mahdi, Thank you very much for your continuous effort and passion in not only setting a clear strategy for your territory, but also for your innovative approach to generating business and your above and beyond focus on your partners and customers. The trust and relationship that you've built with them in such a short time is admirable. Please keep up the great work! Thanks, Muge. I wanted to share this success story to encourage you to set your goals high and to not be afraid of taking up new challenges. You can do it! Keep up the good work. Wishing you all great success in future.   Are you an AUIS alumnus? Do you want to share your share your AUIS journey too? Send it to [email protected] along with one or more good resolution photos. It shouldn’t be more than 500 words, and the email message should be clearly labeled ‘AUIS Alumni Stories’. We would love to hear from you!

AUIS Prepares Us to Become Global Citizens

Dina Dara Meran, Class of 2014
Four years ago when I graduated from high school, I applied to many universities in Iraq and abroad. I remember being so hesitant about deciding where to go. I also wanted to experience living away from home in a different city and making new friends other than knowing my family’s friends in Erbil. After some weeks, I remember receiving a text from AUIS saying I was accepted. It was late at night, and I ran to my dad excitedly with the news. It was obvious by then that my choice would be AUIS, and I have never regretted that. At AUIS, I did not only learn about international studies theories, Plato’s Republic, economics, world history, physics or journalism; I also had the chance to practice them through internships and activities on campus. AUIS strikes a good balance between theory and practice. AUIS is truly unique in a sense there is always so much going on at campus. There is always an interesting guest lecture, an event organized by a student club, a debate, a match, and all of these helped me grow and opened up so many doors. My best times at AUIS were spent taking part in the activities by the student clubs, especially the AUIS student newspaper,Voice. I enjoyed the bittersweet moments and the teamwork while publishing the newspaper.  I learned to network and make connections at AUIS. My internship experiences during the last four years with the Iraq Oil Report publication, General Consulate of the Republic of Turkey in Erbil, Development Iraq, International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the Institute of Regional & International Studies (IRIS) were arranged through AUIS. You always find an AUIS staff member, professor, administrator, or alumnus ready to help - whether it is for a class or a job you need to find, or a personal problem. It was at AUIS that I learned how to give to others, without expecting to receive anything back, especially through volunteer work. And I am proud to say that AUIS taught me the true meaning of citizenship and how to engage with my society. At the same time, just like any other American liberal arts institution, it prepared me to be a global citizen where I can understand the complexity of issues in the world as well.    It was also because of the education I received in AUIS that I could go to the oldest graduate school of international relations in the United States.  Today as I sit in the class, I can make arguments and contribute to the discussions just like any other graduate student. AUIS prepared me well in those four years for graduate school in the United States because of its liberal arts style education. Are you an AUIS alumnus? Do you want to share your share your AUIS journey too? Send it to [email protected] along with one or more good resolution photos. It shouldn’t be more than 500 words, and the email message should be clearly labeled ‘AUIS Alumni Stories’. We would love to hear from you!  

AUIS Makes the Impossible, Possible!

Mahdi Murad hails from the town of Ranya in the Sulaimaniyah Governorate of Kurdistan. He graduated from AUIS in 2014 with a degree in business administration. He currently lives in Amsterdam, Holland where he is working for a well known multinational company. After finishing high school, I was looking for a program that would allow me to focus on more than one field of study. The liberal arts education at AUIS was a great answer to my search. I joined AUIS because I found it a far better choice than any other available to me. Not to mention, AUIS is still the dream university for any student in the region! I achieved so many personal goals that might have been impossible at any other university. I not only majored in business administration, but I also became a journalist, a playwright, and a sports lover through the various extracurricular activities that AUIS offers its students. I believe that the extra knowledge and confidence that I gained, along with my degree, has been really helpful to me in getting hired by one of the most well known international companies around the world – Cisco! After I graduated, I turned out to be a businessman, a journalist, a playwright, and a worldwide traveler who visited more than 30 countries around the world mostly because of AUIS. Therefore, I would like to leave a message to my fellow students and friends in the region and at AUIS. To all AUIS students – I would like to encourage you to always be proud of the name of AUIS and always value what AUIS offers you. Last year, I was just a regular student and my dream was to graduate and get a simple job. Now, in less than a year, I got a job with one of the most competitive international companies in the world. This proves that AUIS makes the impossible possible and you, through AUIS, can easily achieve all your dreams. Respect AUIS, its curriculum, and its professors, because you will only understand how big AUIS is after you graduate! Are you an AUIS alumnus? Do you want to share your share your AUIS journey too? Send it to [email protected] along with one or more good resolution photos. It shouldn’t be more than 500 words, and the email message should be clearly labeled ‘AUIS Alumni Stories’. We would love to hear from you!  
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