Monday, May 3, 2021

Virginia Tech helps launch English language center at Iraqi university battered by Islamic State

The University of Mosul's central library, once one of the largest in the Middle East, was left in ruins following the occupation of Islamic State forces. 

The library at the University of Mosul was once among the finest in Western Asia, housing more than a million books, maps, and rare historical materials. But in 2014, when Islamic State forces captured the Iraqi city, the grand library and about 80 percent of the sprawling, tree-lined campus were destroyed. Many faculty members were slaughtered or forced to flee.

Today, more than three years after the militant group was finally ousted from Mosul, students are returning, the library and other buildings are being rebuilt, and faculty members are re-establishing links with the international community.

The Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute is contributing to that staggering task by helping launch an English language center at the University of Mosul. The institute is providing virtual training in English language instruction and assessment and relevant administrative procedures to faculty members in Iraq.

“The goal is for our Iraqi colleagues to learn what they need to be able to open and operate a center that will serve their university community,” Director Donald Back said. “We also hope to build lasting relationships with faculty members there, especially around academic publishing.”

Improving the English proficiency of faculty and students in Mosul will allow the university to better engage with the world and develop academically, scientifically, and culturally, said Rawaa Qasha, director of the Department of Scholarships and Cultural Relations and an assistant professor of computer science.

Read more about the partnership with the University of Mosul...