QAMISHLO, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan24) –On Monday, Kurds opened their second university in the city of Qamishlo, the de facto capital of Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava).
In a press conference held in the city of Amuda, Ministry of Education in Rojava said in a statement that the new Kurdish university, Rojava University, contains four faculties: Medicine, Engineering, Sciences, and Arts and Humanities.
“Opening Rojava University in Qamishlo comes in response to the requests of the Syrian students who live in Rojava, and to protect them from the risks that they may face during their travel to the other Syrian cities,” the statement said.
According to the statement, Rojava University is open to all ethnic and religious groups in northern Syria, including but not limited to Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Syriacs, Armenians, Turkmen and Chechen.
“Ministry of Education in Rojava exerts strenuous efforts to gain international recognition for the academic qualifications and certificates of the newly established University,” the statement added.
Faculty of Engineering has four departments: Communication, Computing, Petrol and Agriculture.
Faculty of Sciences teaches programs in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Geology. Faculty of Arts and Humanities provides majors in Education, History, Geography, Kurdish Literature and Political Sciences.
In the next two years, the department of languages will introduce programs in Arabic, English, French, Turkish, and Persian.
The Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria (known as Syrian Kurdistan or Rojava in Kurdish) have been besieged since IS overran Raqqa and other wide areas in the west and south of Syria in 2013.
Since then, people who live in the Kurdish cities cannot travel by land to the other Syrian cities because Rojava is besieged by the Islamic State (IS) insurgents and the Syrian government forces from the south and the west.
Furthermore, thousands of Kurdish students of Rojava had to drop out of university because they were subject to arrests in the cities held by the Syrian government authorities such as Damascus and Latakia.
Qamishlo, in Hasakeh province, is under the shared control of the Syrian regime and the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing of People's Protection Units (YPG), who have declared zones of "autonomous administration" across parts of north and northeast Syria in 2014.
Amid the violence and the devastating civil war in Syria, Kurds are holding many cultural activities in Rojava. These events include the Afrin Short Film Festival in April and Kurdish Language Day in May.
Recently, Kurdish libraries and centers were created to facilitate social and artistic activities. The Nahawand Center for Developing Children’s Talents in the Kurdish city of Amuda was established last year, and Rodî û Perwîn library in Kobani in May.
Editing by Ava Homa
[A map of Syria shows the public universities in the Syrian cities that Kurds of Rojava in the northern Syria cannot reach, and the areas held by the Syrian government forces (pink), Islamic State (IS) insurgents (grey) and the Kurdish forces of YPG (yellow). (Photo: Syrian Civil War Map/Edited on July 5, 2016, at Kurdistan24)]