On 16 November 2016, SPARK’s 4th IGNITE Conference took place in Amsterdam, Netherlands. This year, it focused on tackling instability, radicalisation and forced migration in the Middle East, Africa and the EU, and gathered entrepreneurs, student refugees and practitioners from as far as Syria, Libya and Iraq.
Staff members from Mosul University and Tikrit University in Iraq presented the stories of their universities, as with the arrival of the Islamic State (IS) both institutions were shut down. The University of Mosul was represented by its President, Dr Obay Al-Dewachi, and Tikrit University by Professor Ahmed Khalaf Hussein. Although heavily damaged, Tikrit University has re-opened and is almost a year into its post-IS experience. Students from Mosul University are following news reports, hoping to return anytime soon.
Another focus of the conference was the integration of Syrian refugee students in their neighbouring countries and Europe, recognition of their previous studies, language skills and scholarships.
There was some agreement that post-conflict economic recovery and reconstruction would require not only public funding, but also a joint effort of the universities in the region, NGOs, and businesses. Furthermore, it was suggested to link education with the economic empowerment of student refugees. An appeal was launched to international donors to re-affirm their commitment to helping regional safe havens like Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, which have been confronted in recent years with a very high number of war displaced persons.
EUA promoted the conference to its members and also attended the event to raise awareness for its Refugees Welcome Map
For further information, please click here