Seniors graduating this December took their pledge to uphold the values of the AUIS Alumni Association in a brief ceremony held at the university. Families and friends also attended Seniors Day, the day where the most recent group of AUIS graduates are formally inducted into the alumni association. The degrees will formally be conferred upon these graduates in 2015 at the official commencement ceremony. Dr. Esther Mulnix, acting president of AUIS, spoke to the students, congratulating them on their graduation, and welcoming them to the alumni association.
When international studies student Biza Barzo attended the One Young World Summit in Dublin last month, she tried to raise awareness of the plight of refugees in Iraq among the attending delegates. As a result, a group of young Thai delegates raised an appeal for donations in Thailand, and recently sent over a large donation - including clothes, sleeping bags, shoes, blankets and medicines for war-torn refugees. Part of the donation went to refugee camps, while sleeping bags and medicines were delivered to the Peshmergah fighting on the frontlines. A group of AUIS student volunteers visited the Saidsadiq governorate and distributed the supplies to approximately 100 families who have recently arrived from Kobane.
Students at AUIS recently organized a small activity to show their solidarity for the people of Kobane. A number of students, staff and faculty participated in the event to register their protest against the atrocities being committed by IS against the people of Kobane by signing placards and taking photographs of the messages for a social media campaign.
The novelist Mahmoud Saeed is the first writer-in residence at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) where he teaches calligraphy. “A friend arranged everything and made it a surprise for me,” says Saeed when asked about his decision to return to Iraq and teach at AUIS. He refers to his friend Jackie Spinner – journalist and former teacher at AUIS - whom he met in Chicago.
Esther Mulnix arrived in Sulaimani last month to join AUIS as the new vice president for academic affairs and professor of social sciences. She is currently also the Acting President of the university. In addition to overseeing the academic programs for the University, Mulnix will also be leading the University’s efforts to acquire accreditation in the United States.
Marie LaBrosse, a poet, translator, and member of the Department of English, came to AUIS in 2011. “When I was contemplating whether I should take the job, someone told me that the streets in Sulaimani were named after poets. That made up my mind. I had to come here,” she said.
The goal of creating policy that can impact the future of a developing nation is a daunting one, but it’s a job that the class of 2014’s valedictorian Dina Dara hopes to take on. Dara’s next pursuit will be a master’s degree at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, one of the world's foremost graduate schools of international relations.