Higher education in Syria: Protecting academia amid civil war
The war in Syria has generated the 21st century’s worst humanitarian crisis, with as many as 300,000 Syrians killed and half the population displaced. This violence and insecurity has also had a devastating impact on professors, university students, and the country’s education sector, exemplifying the consequences when scholars are targeted. Before the conflict, Syria boasted one of the Middle East’s largest and most well-established higher education systems. War, however, has decimated the university system inside the country, and amongst the refugees are an estimated 2,000 university professionals and a minimum of 100,000 university-qualified students.
On May 17, the Center for Universal Education at Brookings hosted a panel discussion to explore the frequently overlooked impact of the Syrian crisis, and the broader political and security implications on higher education in conflict settings. The panel also highlighted the Institute for International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund, which supports visiting appointments for threatened scholars worldwide, as well as perspectives from a Syrian beneficiary of the fund.