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AUIS news

AUIS President Attends AAICU Conference in Bishkek

  AUIS President Bruce Walker Ferguson was invited to attend the annual meeting of the American Association of International Colleges and Universities (AAICU) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on April 20-22, 2017. The meeting, hosted at The American University of Central Asia, congregated presidents and administrators from more than 20 universities to discuss key issues facing university leadership and an overview of policies and legislation affecting the accreditation process.  Commenting on the discussions at the meeting, President Ferguson said, "The great diversity in language, culture, and geography of these American-style universities highlights a common interest in educating bright, well-rounded young men and women to be future leaders of their societies." AUIS is a member of AAICU; a leadership organization of American international universities, whose members provide responsible delivery and quality assurance of American higher education outside the United States. AAICU provides a distinctive forum for sharing best practices in international higher education, facilitates international and intercultural perspectives through student and faculty exchange, and promotes broader awareness of the educational, economic, social, and cultural contributions of member institutions to the regions of the world in which they are located. Click here for more information about the conference.  Photo: American University of Central Asia

IMMDF, AUIS Announce New Scholarship Program

  Press Release IMMDF, AUIS Announce New Scholarship Program Students to be trained in development finance relevant to the region February 6, 2017 - Sulaimani (KRG, Iraq): The Iraq Middle Market Development Fund (IMMDF) will provide two full year scholarships for students interested in and committed to development, finance, business and entrepreneurship at The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS). The partnership agreement was signed at AUIS today in a ceremony attended by officials from IMMDF, AUIS faculty members and students, and the U.S. Consulate General in Erbil. The agreement was signed by IMMDF General Manager Jorge Vila and AUIS President Bruce Walker Ferguson. The U.S. Consul General Ken Gross was also in attendance.   Through this partnership, IMMDF will deliver a five-week credit seminar on principles of development finance, free of charge, to AUIS students. The goal of the seminar is for AUIS students to learn business skills relevant to employers and for IMMDF to increase the level of development finance expertise in the region. Two students who perform exceptionally well throughout the course will receive a full scholarship, funded by IMMDF, for their final year of study at AUIS. Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Vila said, “AUIS and IMMDF have been cooperating for a long time. AUIS students were among the first to join IMMDF’s Internship Program in 2012. We are delighted at this new opportunity to increase our cooperation with AUIS and we look forward to sharing with AUIS students the lessons learnt by IMMDF through our 11 years financing Iraqi small and medium size companies to create employment and economic growth.” “This innovative university-industry partnership adds depth to the AUIS curriculum in ways that will greatly benefit the region,” said President Ferguson at the signing ceremony. “By developing our students’ skills in vitally needed areas, the new program helps to build local capabilities that address urgent development needs. We commend IMMDF for its generous support of our students and for its creative approach to meeting the challenges that confront Iraq and its Kurdistan region.” - ENDS -  The Iraq Middle Market Development Foundation (IMMDF) was created in 2004 to finance projects of Iraqi private small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) that generate employment and economic growth in Iraq. IMMDF has been financing SMEs in Iraq since 2005 to the tune of US$ 120 million, disbursing loans to a total of 53 Iraqi companies and in the process creating nearly 2,000 direct jobs and many thousands indirect jobs at suppliers and clients of IMMDF borrowers.  Established in 2007 as an independent, not-for-profit institution, AUIS is dedicated to providing a comprehensive liberal arts education for the benefit of young men and women from Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan, and the wider region. The University’s 1,600 students develop a responsible character with the knowledge and skills needed for professional and national leadership. AUIS graduates are in high demand, with most employed in the private sector by prestigious international and local companies. More than 80 percent of our alumni are either employed or enrolled in top-tier graduate programs around the world. For more information, please contact: Bzhar Ali Boskani, AUIS Media and Public Relations Adviser at [email protected] or 964(0)770-152-1893. Jorge R. Vila, IMMDF General Manager at [email protected] or +964-770-502-4932  

AUIS Appoints New Dean of Faculty and Director of Academic Administration and Accreditation

Press Release December 07, 2016 - Sulaimani (KRG), Iraq - The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) today announced the appointment of Dr. Mazen Bou Khuzam as the new Dean of Faculty and Rachel Laribee Gresk as the Director of Academic Administration and Accreditation. The two positions were created after the Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Esther Mulnix, earlier in the year announced her decision to leave AUIS. Dr. Bou Khuzam, who will take up his position as Dean of Faculty on January 1, 2017, has served at AUIS since 2013 as Assistant Professor and Chair of the Mathematics and Natural Sciences Department. On accepting the new position, he said, “I am truly honored to be appointed as Dean of Faculty at AUIS. During the past three years, my main role as the Chair of the Mathematics and Natural Sciences Department was to focus on quality and excellence in teaching. I now look forward to working with the entire faculty to continue to promote educational excellence in the Kurdistan Region and in all of Iraq."   Dr. Bou Khuzam has taught at the university level for more than thirteen years in the Middle East. He holds a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Cambridge, where he was President of the Cambridge University Middle East Society.   Congratulating Dr. Bou Khuzam on his appointment, AUIS President Bruce Walker Ferguson noted with gratitude the important contributions made to the University by Dr. Mulnix, and his appreciation for the new Dean’s ongoing service to AUIS. “Dr. Mazen embodies much of what is best at AUIS: excellence in teaching and research, dedication to student learning, and productive collaboration with his colleagues. We have admired his work as department chair and look forward to his academic leadership as Dean of Faculty. "   AUIS has also appointed Rachel Laribee Gresk as the new Director of Academic Administration and Accreditation, who will report to the Dean of Faculty. “As a member of the AUIS community since 2009, I am honored to move into this new position. I look forward to continuing to work with our dedicated and hardworking team to make AUIS a premier institution for our students,” said Gresk, who formerly headed the AUIS Academic Preparatory Program where she led the highly acclaimed program to US accreditation, the only such program internationally accredited in Iraq. Mrs. Gresk is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.   A Selection Committee comprised of members of the AUIS Board of Trustees and senior management advised President Ferguson on the appointments.   About The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani Established in 2007 as a not-for-profit institution, AUIS is dedicated to providing a comprehensive liberal arts education for the benefit of young men and women from Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan, and the wider region. The University seeks to produce graduates of responsible character with the necessary knowledge and skills for professional and national leadership. The academic program, taught in the English language by international faculty, is designed to develop strength in critical thinking, the ability to communicate well, a strong work ethic, good citizenship and personal integrity. The growing student body at AUIS represents the region’s diverse ethnic and religious landscape as the University continues to be the destination of choice of more than 1,600 students. Reflecting Sulaimani’s location at an international crossroads, Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, Ezidis and Christians, live and study together in an open culture fostering diversity and tolerance. Academic freedom is a principle guaranteed in teaching, learning, and research in a manner identical to that found at regionally accredited colleges and universities in the United States. As a non-profit institution for the public good, the University and its assets are not owned by any individual or group of individuals. Visit the AUIS website and connect with us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest information and news. For English language and international media, please contact Mehr Zahra, Director of Communications, at [email protected] or 964(0)772-339-9305. For Kurdish and Arabic media requests, please contact Bzhar Boskani, Media and Public Relations Adviser, at [email protected] or 964(0)770-152-1893

AUIS Board of Trustees Elects New Chair

November 6, 2016 - Sulaimani (KRG), Iraq - The Board of Trustees of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) elected Dr. Jill Derby as the new Chair at the annual Board meeting on November 1, 2016 in Washington D.C. The Board held the election as the former Chair,  Dr. Barham Salih, stepped down from the position after completing his term according to the bylaws of the University. He had held the position since the founding of the University in 2007. “Founded just ten years ago, AUIS is a remarkable success story of diversity, openness and education at its best. In an article for the New York Times, Thomas Friedman once called AUIS Iraq’s best hope, “an American university that is teaching the values of inclusiveness.” We owe this remarkable success to the visionary leadership and dedication of our founder Dr. Barham Salih. I will strive to carry forward his commitment to excellence which AUIS embodies, and his devotion to the students the University serves,” said Dr. Derby, who has been a member of the AUIS Board of Trustees since September 2012 and was previously serving as the Vice Chair. Congratulating Dr. Derby on her new appointment, AUIS President Bruce Walker Ferguson said, “Dr. Barham’s contributions to the University, as founder and as a visionary force, have been crucial to the introduction of modern liberal arts education to the region.  Dr. Jill’s long experience in American higher education will help AUIS attain the next level of high-quality, affordable undergraduate education.  I look forward to continuing to work with both of these remarkable trustees and commend their commitment and dedication to the students and faculty of AUIS.” During the meeting, the Board expressed its appreciation and gratitude to Dr. Barham Salih in a resolution: “The Board of Trustees, on behalf of the students, staff, faculty, alumni, and other members of the community at The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, conveys to Dr. Barham Salih its deepest respect and gratitude for the inspiration, visionary leadership and tireless effort he has provided for more than a decade as our founder and Chair.” The Board also elected Dr. Bakhteyar Shamsadeen as the new Vice Chair, re-elected Azzam Alwash as the new Secretary, and elected Mr. Mohammed Ali as Treasurer. In another resolution, the Board acknowledged its gratitude and respect for the “troops in the Kurdistan’s peshmerga, Iraqi military and security forces, the U.S. armed forces, and other coalition military and security units fighting to defend a peaceful and just society in the Kurdistan region and across Iraq.” For more information about the AUIS Board of Trustees, please visit www.auis.edu.krd/board-trustees Jill Derby is a governance consultant with the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), where she has worked for more than ten years to enhance governance effectiveness and performance among American and Canadian higher education boards. She served on two Nevada college faculties before transitioning to a policy role on the Nevada Board of Regents. She was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity by the U.S. Senate in 2011. She received her PhD from the University of California, Davis with a concentration on the Arab Middle East. Read full profile. About the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani Established in 2007 as a not-for-profit institution, AUIS is dedicated to providing a comprehensive liberal arts education for the benefit of young men and women from Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan, and the wider region. The University seeks to produce graduates of responsible character with the necessary knowledge and skills for professional and national leadership. The academic program, taught in the English language by international faculty, is designed to develop strength in critical thinking, the ability to communicate well, a strong work ethic, good citizenship and personal integrity. As a non-profit institution for the public good, the University and its assets are not owned by any individual or group of individuals. The growing student body at AUIS represents the region’s diverse ethnic and religious landscape as the University continues to be the destination of choice of more than 1,600 students. Reflecting Sulaimani’s location at an international crossroads, Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, Ezidis and Christians, live and study together in an open culture fostering diversity and tolerance. Academic freedom is a principle guaranteed in teaching, learning, and research in a manner identical to that found at regionally accredited colleges and universities in the United States. As a non-profit institution for the public good, the University and its assets are not owned by any individual or group of individuals. Follow AUIS on Twitter @auis_news and Facebook @auisofficial for latest information and news. For media enquiries or interview requests, please contact Mehr Zahra, director of communications, at [email protected] or 964(0)772-3399-305.

Fall 2016 Scholarship Awards

The Faculty and Staff Scholarship Committee at AUIS has recently announced scholarships for 3rd and 4th year undergraduate students for Fall 2016.     In the academic year of 2013 – 2014, the AUIS staff, faculty and the then AUIS president, Dr. Dawn Dekle, raised funds to provide financial support to AUIS students in need. Given the current difficult financial situation in the region, the Faculty & Staff Scholarship Committee has decided to award these funds to be used in Fall 2016 semester. A number of single scholarships of between $1,000 and $2,000 will be awarded based on students need and proven commitment to study at AUIS.   The Faculty & Staff Scholarship Committee members include: Raguez Taha, Dr.Elizabeth Campbell, Dr. Maria Saldarriaga, Dr. Tara Fadhil, Dr. Bahzad Rasheed, Dr. Donald Cruickshank, Dr.Tobin Hartnell, Habyl Sadik, and James Hart.   Please follow the directions detailed in the attachment to submit the application.   The final deadline for submitting the application is May 12, 2016 at 5:00 PM.     

Students Discuss Media and US Presidential Elections with Sam Seder

  On Monday, April 4, 2016, a group of AUIS students had a conversation with Sam Seder, an MSNBC contributor and a political talk radio host, via Skype, concerning the role of the media in the U.S. presidential elections. The media has changed a lot, he said, it used to function purely as a source of information for the people, and was not expected to make a profit. Now, however, “the population is not as educated about important issues, not even issues they care about.” And this, he explained is because the media has an incentive to get higher ratings, and therefore more profit. But when being more specific about this year’s presidential elections, he mentioned that the reason Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner candidate, is getting so much coverage, is because he drives ratings, “he is an incredible showman, and people who want to vote against him are just as compelled to watch”, said Seder. On the democratic side however, he talked about Bernie Sanders, who is not getting nearly enough media coverage compared to his popularity. @SamSeder speaking to #AUIS students of @djenebajalan 's class about #US #media pic.twitter.com/vT5WoDSQPH — Sara Bajalan (@SBajalan) April 4, 2016 After Sam Seder’s talk, Dr. Djene Bajalan, AUIS professor who organized this talk for his American History class, opened the discussion to Q&As. Some of these questions were about Sam Seder’s own opinions and expectations for the elections, and others about the extent to which the media is influenced by political affiliations. Sam Seder had questions for the students as well, which also included questions from his live audience. Will be speaking via skype with some college students in Sulaimani, in Iraqi Kurdistan in a few minutes- send me any questions you may have — Sam Seder (@SamSeder) April 4, 2016 These questions ranged from students’ perspective on the American invasion of Iraq in 2003; what life was like in Iraq; women’s rights and if they had improved since 2003; and what students thought of their American-style education at AUIS. The dialogue between Sam Seder and the American History students was very engaging and interesting to say the least and students expressed their interest in participating in such lectures in the future. Story and photos contributed by communications intern Lana Jabbar. 

AUIS professor attends water conference in Istanbul

Experts: Women must be involved in water management Daily Sabah MidEast  Assistant Professor at the AUIS Mathematics and Natural Sciences department, Maria Saldarriaga, recently attended the "Women, Water and Peace" conference in Istanbul on March 18-19, 2016. Highlighting the challenges that must be faced to overcome the mismanagement of water resources, Saldarriaga said: "Gender-sensitive policy implementation must be bottom up, but there is no time for it as the country [Iraq] is always in a state of emergency." Read full article.  Saldarriaga recently contributed a chapter on water scarcity in the refugee camps in Iraq in the report, "Women, Water and Peace: Crisis of Survival in the Middle East, 2015", published by the Strategic Foresight Group. 

Renewed Challenges for the Middle East

Ahmed Ali, senior fellow at the American University's Institute of Regional and International Studies reviews the immense challenges facing Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq and the Middle East as we gear up for hosting the fourth annual Sulaimani Forum on March 16-17, 2016. The annual Forum aims to convene prominent leaders, intellectuals and practitioners to the cultural hub of Sulaimani, Iraq to engage in meaningful dialogue and tackle the most complex issues facing the region.   "One hundred years after the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement, there are serious questions about the current political structure of the Middle East. There are challenges of figuring out identities and governance systems. The old guard in Egypt, Yemen, and Tunisia has changed. The new leaders are yet to succeed in setting an agreeable collective direction for their countries. Syria is staring into the abyss of its status as a nation-state. It has become a base for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and it witnesses ongoing violence. This new regional order places Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan at a crossroads that is familiar yet is uncharted territory. Mosul is still under ISIS control, both the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and federal Iraq are in dire financial shape, and the distrust among all communities is at a peak. With these ongoing developments, the Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS) at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) is holding its fourth Sulaimani Forum in March of this year. This year’s Forum takes on extra significance given the 100 year anniversary of Sykes-Picot and it will seek to cover the myriad of national and regional challenges..." Read full article.       More about the upcoming Sulaimani Forum. 

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