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Emergency Student Fund Assists Syrian Students Enrolled in U.S. Universities

NEW YORK (Dec 19, 2014) -The Emergency Student Fund of the Institute of International Education (IIE) has awarded  grants to 43 Syrian students on U.S. college and university campuses who face urgent financial need due to the on-going conflict in Syria. These grants are made possible by the DC-based Al Waref Institute with technical support from the U.S. Department of State and generous financial support from leading Syrian businessman Moutaz Al Khayyat, who shares IIE’s commitment of helping Syrian students to remain enrolled in their U.S. degree programs so they will be better prepared to assist their country in the future.

IIE received 65 nominations from 34 colleges and universities in 19 states across the United States for this round of funding. This represents approximately 10 percent of the Syrian students currently studying in the United States. The nominees were all facing situations in which families at home can no longer help fund their studies because their cities are under siege, they have had to flee the country, or they are no longer able to work due to the on-going upheaval.

Priority was given to nominated students with the most urgent financial need who are currently enrolled in full-time degree programs and are scheduled to graduate in spring 2015. As part of the nomination and award process, U.S. host colleges and universities indicate their support of the selected Syrian students through provision of tuition waivers, loans, housing, meal plans, or other forms of support. The 43 recipients were from all levels of higher education, ranging from the undergraduate to doctoral level and represented many different fields of study including, computer science, human resources, engineering, business, biology, political science, social work and architecture.

“Education is the orphan of any war,” said IIE President and CEO Allan E. Goodman. “With the crisis in Syria dragging on into its fourth year, it is absolutely imperative that we step up to help Syrian students so that we do not lose an entire generation of leaders. We are grateful to the Al Waref Institute and Mr. Al Khayyat for their timely and heartfelt support, which will help us to leverage community and university resources so that Syrian students with financial need in the United States can remain in their studies and graduate.”

“A whole generation of Syrians lost access to education due to forced displacement and the destruction of educational institutions” said Marah Bukai, founder and president of Al Waref Institute. “In order to save the Syrian people, this unprecedented education crisis should be addressed as a priority by the international community.”

”Education is the corner stone of society, and investing in educating the Syrian people today is of paramount importance” said Mr. Moutaz Al Khayyat. “These young Syrians will be tasked with the difficult undertaking of rebuilding their country, and they need the proper knowledge to be able to succeed. I would like to reaffirm my commitment to supporting IIE and Al Waref in this important endeavor.”

The Institute of International Education’s Emergency Student Fund is one of several initiatives led by IIE to help students and scholars in danger from around the world. With a long tradition of rescuing threatened scholars since its founding in 1919, IIE established the Scholar Rescue Fund® (IIE-SRF) in 2002. Over the past 12 years, IIE-SRF has saved the lives, work, and voices of nearly 600 scholars from 51 countries, including over 65 scholars from Syria. Launched at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2011, IIE’s Syria Consortium has mobilized and coordinated over $6 million in assistance and educational opportunities for Syrian students and scholars. In spring 2015, IIE will launch “From Camps to Campus,” a pilot program providing scholarships for Syrian students at the Za’atari camp in Jordan to complete their higher education at nearby universities.  For more information, please visit IIE’s website: www.iie.org.

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