BRISTOL, R.I. – Roger Williams University will offer four scholarships to students from Syria, joining a global network of more than 60 colleges, universities and organizations that’s helping displaced students resume their studies in safety.
As a member of the Institute for International Education’s Syria Consortium, RWU will provide two full-tuition scholarships to qualified graduate students in the architecture school and two full scholarships to students in the law school. The scholarships will allow the students to complete their degree programs in order to enter the workforce and to ultimately rebuild and restore stability in their home country.
“As Roger Williams University strives to be the university the world needs now, we recognize the unprecedented tragedy of the Syrian conflict and the vital role of higher education in charting a course to recovery, reconciliation and reconstruction of Syria,” said Kate A. Greene, RWU’s director of international program development. “Honoring the legacy of Roger Williams, in collaboration with IIE’s Syria Consortium, we have committed graduate scholarship opportunities specifically in the areas of architecture and law — two foundational disciplines vital to rebuilding both infrastructure and the rule of law in circumstances such as the Syrian conflict.”
As many as 200,000 Syrian students have been forced to terminate their university studies because of the crisis in Syria. RWU’s emergency assistance reflects a growing commitment in the international community to address the higher education needs of displaced populations. In fall 2016, the United Nations General Assembly issued the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, calling on world leaders to ensure that students in crises have access to higher education in order to gain the perspectives and skills they will need to rebuild their countries post-conflict. Today, humanitarian relief organizations spend less than 2 percent of funds on education at any level.
“An investment in education is a long-term investment in peace,” IIE President Allan E. Goodman said. “Syria needs students to continue their university education so that, even in the midst of crisis, the country is producing the leadership and knowledge necessary for a successful future. I am grateful to Roger Williams University and all members of the IIE Syria Consortium who are providing meaningful opportunities for displaced students to contribute to our world in a positive way.”
Stephen White, dean of the RWU School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation, said, “We welcome our new architecture graduate students from Syria. Their academic and professional achievements in Syria prior to coming to the United States are outstanding. They will make a great contribution to the community of our school, joining our other U.S. and international students and faculty. We are very thankful to work with the IIE, and all they do for international education and understanding.”
Michael J. Yelnosky, dean of the RWU School of Law, said, “Part of this law school’s mission is to help those in our community in need, and our commitment extends to those whose studies have ceased because of the conflict in Syria. We are humbled by the opportunity to offer some modest support to those impacted by this enormous crisis.”
Starting in the fall of 2017, future cycles of opportunities for displaced Syrian students will be available on the new Platform for Education in Emergencies Response (www.iiepeer.org) a global clearinghouse to identify and connect scholarships and opportunities with displaced and refugee students anywhere in the world. IIE, the nonprofit that leads the consortium to be housed on the new platform, is calling on governments and other donors to join the effort to expand its reach to refugees and displaced people at all levels of education and in all world regions. To pledge emergency student support through PEER, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.