Scholarship Scheme for Syrian refugees in Kurdistan

UNHCR scholarship scheme helps Syrian refugees access university degrees in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in coordination with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I), this week opened its DAFI scholarship enrolment programme in KR-I and started receiving applications.

UNHCR’s higher education scholarship programme, the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Programme, best known by its German acronym DAFI will support 120 undergraduate Syrian refugees residing in KR-I, where 97% of the Syrian refugees in Iraq are registered. This is the first time a UNHCR DAFI programme is available in Iraq.

Refugee education is a major casualty in conflict. At the higher education level, just one per cent of refugees attend university, compared to a global average of 34 per cent,” said Bruno Geddo, UNHCR Representative in Iraq.

The Syrian crisis is now in its sixth year: it is essential to think beyond first-line emergency response for Syrian refugees. Providing Syrian refugees in the KR-I with an opportunity to complete university in their host country is the way forward,” emphasizes Bruno Geddo. “Education is the keystone to empower refugees to shape their future and that of their communities.

UNHCR DAFI scholarship in KR-I covers tuition fees and a monthly stipend, along with medical insurance and student counselling services for up to five years, enabling them to enrol and integrate in public universities or polytechnic institutions in the KR-I.

The number of available scholarships in KR-I is based on available funding and is provided based on academic admissibility and need for support. UNHCR explicitly encourages female applicants and persons with disability to submit applications.

Applications are received between 18 September and 15 October 2016 and selected candidates interviewed in November, allowing successful applicant to enrol for the university semester starting in December 2016.

Next year, UNHCR is hoping to expand the number of beneficiaries and include internally displaced Iraqis and vulnerable members of the host community in the programme.

UNHCR DAFI programme has been supporting higher education opportunities for refugees since 1992. The programme has provided scholarships to more than 6,000 deserving refugees worldwide to study at universities in their host country and, more recently, in their country of origin upon return.

Financed by the Government of Germany, DAFI has been and remains a unique opportunity for refugees to continue higher education while outside their country of origin.

The UNHCR DAFI scholarship programme in KR-I has been developed in close collaboration with the KR-I Ministry of Higher Education and the British Council, with the generous support of the German Government and the European Union.

More information is available here:

(Source: UN)

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