US university hopes to fill higher education gap

From afar, the sprawling complex of the newly inaugurated American University in Baghdad (AUIB) appears like a floating mirage. Encircled by blue waters of a man-made lake, former Saddam Hussein-era palaces have been converted to university departments promising a US-style education to meet the needs of Iraq’s growing youth, reports The Associated Press.

“I feel more like a mayor of a big city than a university president,” said AUIB President Michael Mulnix in an interview with the Associated Press on Monday, a day after the university officially opened its doors.

Higher education has lagged in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam. Government officials maintain that the American University in Baghdad, which opened last week, is critical to shoring up the country’s flailing state of higher education. Critics have raised alarm over the university’s funding scheme, which is reliant on one influential Iraqi businessman, while the twin threats of coronavirus and attacks by armed groups threaten to add further delays. Still, university administrators are forging ahead with plans to expand.
Full report on the Egypt Independent site