To address this need, the Institute of International Education (IIE) proposes to join with Jusoor, the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), and EducationUSA-Syria to take a leadership role in coordinating $5 million in emergency support to enable Syrian students and scholars to continue their academic work. While the four organizations together are able to commit a total of $2 million at this time, a major goal is to raise awareness and further funds for this critically important work. Raising the total required will enable the following work within the next year:
-Provide IIE Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF) fellowships to up to 15 senior, threatened academics from Syria (provided they meet all qualifying criteria of SRF.)
-Provide IIE Emergency Student Fund (ESF) grants to up to 100 Syrian students whose education has been interrupted by the crisis (provided they meet all qualifying criteria of ESF).
-Provide IIT scholarships to up to 50 Syrian students.
-Build a consortium of universities around the world who will provide scholarships to assist threatened Syrian students, with a goal of 50.
IIE, Jusoor, IIT, and EducationUSA-Syria will implement this commitment by having each organization focus on what they do best and join together in a synergistic way for maximum impact. IIE will give out the SRF and ESF grants, coordinate the university consortium, and serve as a central clearinghouse or 'matchmaker' between Syrian students needing help and universities offering help. Jusoor will mobilize support among the Syrian community and provide information on Syrian students and scholars needing help. IIT will give out its own scholarships and also serve as a resource and model for other universities interested in doing similar work. EducationUSA-Syria will provide up-to-date information on Syrian students and scholars needing assistance and coordinate as necessary between applicants and the various opportunities available.
There will be an immediate call for applications to IIE's Scholar Rescue Fund for qualified scholars from Syria, which will include application vetting, presentation to the SRF's Selection Committee, scholar selection, placement, and monitoring. The deliverables from this process will include SRF fellowships that save the lives and work of up to 15 qualified scholars from Syria.
Please note that SRF fellowships provide a temporary respite for threatened scholars, enabling them to continue productive academic work until they can return to their home country. It is not meant to be a 'brain drain' program but rather a 'brain save' program. On average, 40% of SRF grantees are able to return home following their fellowship and those who cannot often take up academic positions in nearby countries and continue to help their communities.
Moreover, there will be an immediate opportunity to provide scholarships to 50 Syrian students at IIT, which will include a call for applications, application review, fundraising, placement at IIT, and monitoring.
In Fall 2012, there will be a call for nominations to IIE's Emergency Student Fund for qualified students from Syria. Fundraising, application review, student selection, grant payments, and follow-up will be required to complete this process and will result in ESF emergency grants to help up to 100 Syrian students to complete higher education.
Over the same period in Fall 2012 an open call from IIE President Dr. Allan Goodman for universities in the US and around the world to support Syrian students in continuing higher education will be made and there will be targeted follow-up with universities with particular interest in facilitatating scholarships.
Finally, in November 2012, a workshop at the Jusoor conference will be held for universities interested in assisting Syrian students and scholars.
The ongoing crisis in Syria has created an academic emergency. This situation has been characterized by both a break-down of education within the country and the formation of great difficulties for Syrian students and scholars who are continuing their education and academic work outside of the country.
While humanitarian efforts to provide displaced Syrians with food, water, and shelter are underway, the educational needs of Syrians are only being met on a minimal basis and, even then, are predominately focused on primary schooling. Whether within country, in neighboring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, or in North America, Europe, and the broader Middle East, there are very few resources or coordinated programs to assist Syrian students and scholars at the tertiary level. This gap is extremely detrimental to the future of Syria. The country needs students to continue their university education and scholars to continue their academic work so that, even in the midst of crisis, Syria is producing the leadership and knowledge necessary for a successful future.
IIE, IIT, Jusoor, and EducationUSA-Syria seek funding partners to provide a flexible scholarship fund of approximnately $1 million. These funds would be used to make whole the many partial scholarships available, thus enabling Syrian students to make maximum use of consortium opportunities.
IIE, Jusoor, IIT, and EducationUSA-Syria seek assistance and partnership from donors and academic institutions to provide funds, scholarships, and other assistance to enable Syrian students and scholars to continue their academic work during this time of crisis. Assistance could take the following forms: program and grant funds; tuition relief; meal plans for students and scholars; other university support; connections to donors or institutions that can provide scholarships or fellowships; PR, communications, and fundraising support to highlight the problem and encourage assistance.