Dawa Official Calls for Opening Another American University in Iraq
While the number of Iraqi students studying in the United States has been on the rise in the last few years, the Iraqi government has recently shown an interest in opening another American university in Iraq. Minister of Higher Education Ali al-Adeeb expressed public support for such a move in a Dec. 16 article, “Why Baghdad Needs an American University,” which he wrote for a US website specializing in higher education.
In the article, Adeeb calls for the new American university to be located in central or southern Iraq, which would be an addition to the existing American University of Iraq in Sulaimaniyah. He asserted that such a university would advance higher education in the country, producing graduates who are critical thinkers, educated with a global and modern knowledge base, fluent in English and receptive to cultural diversity.
Adeeb’s position is remarkable because he is a leading figure in the Shiite Dawa Party, led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Some observers were surprised that his ministry would be enthusiastic about such an idea given that the Shiite parties generally do not support what they view as “Western cultural penetration” of Iraqi society. The Dawa party has traditionally been opposed to Western cultural expansion, at least according to the writings of its ideological guide Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr (who was executed in 1980).