We hear the phrase “Syria’s lost generation“ when journalists and commentators report about the secondary school students who were forced to suspend their studies and the undergraduate students who had to leave their universities – and even the country. The numbers of these students may reach the hundreds of thousands.
And still, amazingly so, thousands upon thousands of Syrian university students have gathered together to study the curriculum in their academic departments on their own and along with their peers – sometimes with dedicated faculty. Amidst an ongoing war, and at great personal risk these students have managed to complete their studies, complete research and academic projects and have earned their degrees over the last two, three and four years.
These university graduates represent a core group of individuals who will serve a very critical and vital role in rebuilding Syria in the short-term future. In speaking to our peers and colleagues both within Syria and those completing their degrees globally, we believe that we must work together to further support graduates in Syria to gain the additional necessary experience and resources and whatever further knowledge that they will need in order for all of us to serve current and future generations of Syrians.
In response to the crisis in higher education in Syria over the past three years, several outstanding initiatives have been launched by institutions and universities such as initiative that has been started by Illinois institute of technology (IIT) which was devoted to advancing the undergraduate students who were unable to further their studies, or who faced extremely challenging circumstances to continue their education in Syria. While we are grateful for this opportunity at IIT, we hold a special responsibility to do something to further support an entire generation “of young and emerging scholars and researchers” that have already graduated in Syria as well as and those who will continue their students during the 2013-14 academic year; together we can work together to prepare them for their future professional goals. We also seek to honor those students who have lost their lives during the war by recording and preserving their academic accomplishments and dreams.
In response to this great need, the Syrian students who have arrived at Illinois Institute of Technology are proud to announce the inaugural launch of the Syria Research Database Initiative (SRDI) for innovation and the future.
At a time extraordinary conflict, disruption and internal displacement, the preservation of the ideas, projects, and research efforts – indeed the intellectual capital and the related dreams and ambitions attached to the vision of thousands upon thousands of graduates – remains one of our highest priorities to in order to give back to our fellow students and to support a culture of innovation, invention, and excellence while our country remains at war.
Our goal in Syria Research Database Initiative (SRDI) is to provide and amplify the “regional and worldwide voice of Syrian students” and to increase the visibility of their research, projects and intellectual property among the widest possible audience within Syria, the Middle East and North African region and throughout the globe.
In the future, we hope to establish an electronic journal with quarterly abstracts if important new work, hold online Google Hangouts, and Skype poster sessions as well as hybrid gatherings in Syria and across the region where possible given the security conditions at the time.
Together, we will move our country of Syria forward for peace and freedom through our collective academic and research activities in support of the lives of all of our peoples. Together, we will meet the greatest challenges for rebuilding our contribution as well as the lives of every woman, man and child. Together, we will once again, as we have for 9,000 years, demonstrate to the world – and ourselves – that our differences represent the best of us for moving forward. Together, we will serve as a beacon of hope, and that we will rise up, and rise again.
On behalf of the entire group of 33 Syrian women and men undergraduates studying at Illinois Institute of Technology, we are honored and pleased to launch the Syria Research Database Initiative.
Thank you in advance for your support. Join us as we move forward – together.
Please watch for further announcements regarding the SRD initiative for innovation and the future. To receive further details about this work and to join our efforts, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Major at IIT: Civil Engineering
Expected Graduation Date: 2015
Previous Universities: Damascus University, Aleppo University
Contact Information: email@example.com
All inquiries are welcome.
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NOTE: University faculty and staff within the US and across the world, global research and technology institutes, foundations, corporations, and others who wish to further and advance the SRD initiative should contact Ms. Megan Mozina, Associate Director for International Outreach and Partnerships at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Dedicated to A.H. and his peers who were graduated from the University of Aleppo – August 2013, and to thousands of other graduates over the last three years; we also recall, and with this work honor and remember, our fellow university peers who have lost their lives over the last years.