ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The University of Kirkuk was recognized for its “Outstanding Support for Students” at an award ceremony in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.
The award was presented to faculty members during the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards Asia 2019 ceremony in Abu Dhabi and recognized the institution for its efforts in taking in tens of thousands of extra students who had to flee their homes and schools due to the emergence and rise of the so-called Islamic State.
“The University of Kirkuk stepped into the [Islamic State] breach and opened its doors to displaced students from seven other institutions,” a statement on THE Awards Asia website read.
According to judges at the ceremony, Kirkuk University won the award “for its response to extreme adversity.”
“For four years, the university provided not just education but housing, food, and emotional support for thousands of students displaced from terrorist-occupied and war-torn areas of Iraq,” the judges said.
Following the 2014 emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq, the extremist group overran large swaths of territory in the country’s north, displacing tens of thousands of people.
Iraq declared a military victory over the extremist group in December 2017, but the Islamic State continues to carry out sporadic attacks in formerly liberated areas including several on the outskirts of Kirkuk and even areas it never controlled like the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
Editing by John J. Catherine