Salahaddin University - Erbil and The Aladdin Project
The Aladdin Project (http://www.projetaladin.org/en/the-aladdin-project.html) is an independent, international non-governmental organization based in Paris. The thirty personalities on its Board are from different countries, cultures and religions, united in the belief that the power of knowledge and education and the primacy of history and moral values can vanquish the chasms created by ignorance, prejudice, and hate and competing memories. Equally convinced that a lasting intercultural dialogue can only thrive in an interchange that is at peace with history. The goal of the project is to promote harmonious inter-cultural relations and seek to facilitate mutual knowledge by producing and translating books, films, documentaries, Web sites and other sources of information in the languages of the concerned populations and by using the modern media to reach out to those who yearn and work for peace and mutual respect.
The Aladdin Project was launched under the patronage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in March 2009, and has since been supported by more than 1,000 intellectuals, academics and public figures from over 50 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America. A number of world leaders and international bodies, such as the European Union, have also declared their backing for the project.
The initiative was so named because Aladdin, both as a Middle Eastern folk tale and a name, is shared by different cultures and thus symbolizes an inter-cultural bridge, while the genie lamp, a symbol of light of knowledge against obscurantism and ignorance, reflects the hope that the magical power of knowledge will eventually destroy age-old myths and superstitions and break down seemingly insurmountable barriers.
The Aladdin Project’s originality is its method of familiarizing peoples of different cultures with the history, religion and culture of the other in their own mother tongues through culturally adapted resources and the use of modern technology. Aladdin’s credibility has been enhanced by the declarations of support from prominent political and intellectual personalities. Aladdin’s capacity to implement educational and cultural projects is boosted by an impressive network of experts, academics and civil society activists in over fifty countries hailing from different religious and cultural backgrounds.
The Aladdin Project’s goal is to promote greater mutual knowledge among peoples of different cultures and religions in order to bring about changes in attitudes and perceptions and develop a culture of peace and tolerance. Such changes will ultimately come about through a long-term strategy focusing on education and diffusion of knowledge. To meet the challenges of overcoming deeply-imbedded misperceptions and mutual mistrust in a politically-charged environment, a strategy have been developed that combines concrete, measurable educational and cultural projects (translations, syllabus development, distance-learning courses, educator training, summer school programs...) with public events (conferences, exhibitions, visits to memorial sites...). The project developing an international network of academics, civil society activists and educators that provides all with essential feedback on the impact of the project on the ground.
Salahaddin University(SU) - Aladdin Project: http://su.edu.krd
The history of participating of Salahaddin University-Erbil in Aladdin Project goes back to July 2014, were The SU president and students invited by Dr. Bakhtiar Amin to participate in the second International Summer University which took place from 1st to 13th of July 2014, at the Free University of Berlin (Freie Universität). 60 students participated in the program came from Egypt, France, Germany, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Tunisia and Turkey. As before, all expenses were covered by the Aladdin Project, the Free University of Berlin and their partners.
Along with previous partner universities, several new universities joined the program and sent some of their students:
- Harvard University (Etats-Unis) ;
- University of Columbia (Etats-Unis) ;
- University of Sapienza (Italie) ;
- Salahaddin University –Erbil (Kurdistan - Iraq) ;
- Centre d’étude Al-Mesbar (Arabie saoudite).
Salahaddin University-Erbil participated in International Universities summer workshop organized by Aladdin Project in Istanbul and Cappadocia (July 2015):
Invited by the Aladdin Project, Assistant Professor Dr. Ahmed Anwar Dizayee, the president of Salahaddin University-Erbil, participated in the summer workshop for intercultural leadership. The workshop was hosted by Bahcesehir University in Istanbul, and 20 universities from all the five continents assembled, among which Salahaddin University – Erbil was the only member from Iraq. The workshop took a fortnight, and one hundred students from twenty universities joined in, among them four were from the Kurdistan Region.
In the inauguration ceremony, the representative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, The former Minister of Education of Turkey, Istanbul Governor and the president of Bahcesehir University delivered their speech. The president of Salahaddin University presented a seminar on inter-cultural communications and the youth leadership. He also touched upon the aspects of the Kurdish culture and how historically it has been integrated with education and literacy. The president also shed light on the design of the new campus of Salahaddin University which reflected the depiction the region’s archaeological sites like Erbil Citadel and Minaret, and Khanzad Castle. In addition, he elaborated on the significance of HCDP sponsored program by the Kurdistan Regional Government and how students are able to develop their research skills and technical expertise by means the program; they are exposed to different cultures and advance of various societies. Their experiences of intercultural competence and worldview will later be put into good use in the academia and administration sectors of the Kurdistan Region. At the end of the workshop, the president awarded the representative of The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Istanbul Governor, Director-General of UNESCO and organizers of the event with a hand-woven textile of Erbil Citadel and Minaret, bearing the logo of Salahaddin University-Erbil.
Salahaddin University-Erbil Participated in Paris Conference of Aladdin Project (January 2016):
The president of Salahaddin University Dr.Ahmed Anwar Dezaye was invited to participate in activities of Aladdin project in the conference of setting up foundation of the universities for confronting the acts of violence in Paris. The conference was organized by Aladdin Project.
In the conference, the president of UNESCO, ministers of higher education and the presidents of the universities of America, France, Germany, Switzerland, Brazil, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Israel and a number of African and Arabic countries were present in the conference. From Iraq, only president of Salahaddin University-Erbil and the American University in Sulaimania participated in the conference meetings.
The conference lasted for one day, consisted of 3 panels. President of Salahaddin University participated in the first panel, persuaded raising awareness of the young people and encourage the university students to face violence.
At the beginning of the panel, Dr. Ahmed Anwer Dezaye declared that Salahaddin University being even so close to the war zone has hugged 1000 students of Syrian refugees, Yezidi, Sinjari and Christian emigrants of Nineveh outskirts and other students of Tikrit, Mosul and Anbar. In another part of the panel, president of Salahaddin University mentioned the financial crisis in the Kurdistan Region which is due to the war against the Islamic State, a drop in the price of petrol and having 2 million refugees and cutting the Kurdistan's share of the Iraqi Budget by central government of Iraq..
He also asked the international community to support Kurdistan especially Peshmarga who are fighting the Islamic State on behalf of the whole world. In another part of the panel, each of Dr. Bakhtiar Amin and Azzam Aloosh, representatives of American University of Sulaimania, shed light on Iraq and Kurdistan's role especially Dr. Bakhtiar criticized the international community for not providing the necessary support for Peshmarga and Kurdistan Region in their fight against the Islamic State as the region shares 1500 km of its borders with ISIS. He also asked for help for Kurds in all the 4 parts of Kurdistan. At the end of the conference, president of Salahaddin University dedicated gifts to the president of UNESCO and president of Aladdin project, which was a carpet of Erbil Citadel with the university logo on it.
Salahaddin University (SU) took part in Aladdin project summer school in Azerbaijan(July 2016):
SU president Dr. Ahmed Anwar Dezaye participated in Aladdin Project supported by UNESCO in the cities of Baku and Quba in Azerbaijan. SU has been an active member of that organization.
Every year, two students from SU take part in the summer training which lasts a fortnight. Among 25 students coming from different countries, SU students are the only participants from Iraq.
The conference unfolded with the presence and support of Deputy Education Minister of Azerbaijan. Later, SU president delivered a speech about the current circumstances in the Kurdistan Region regarding the peaceful coexistence of the inter-faith and multi-ethnic society. Also in his speech, SU president lauded the heroism of the Peshmarga forces in their fight against ISIS. He further praised the Kurdistan Region for becoming a safe heaven for above 2 million Syrian refugees.
Finally, the president extended thanks to the host country and the project to have invited SU. He presented gifts to Deputy Education Minister and coordinators of the conference.
International Summer University for International Leadership 2018:
Aladdin Project International Summer University will take place in Istanbul, from July 8 to July 21, 2018. This year, Bahçeşehir University will host the program entitled “Mobility, Migration, Refugees and Xenophobia”.The International Summer University is an annual program under the patronage of UNESCO with the participation of 35 prestigious universities in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and America.
This year’s two-week course provides a broad, theoretical discussion of human mobility and the impact of migration on economic and political processes, globalization and social change. It includes some discussion of key literature and major debates on contemporary migration from a number of disciplinary perspectives in the social sciences and provides a deeper understanding of some of the dilemmas facing policy-makers at both national and international level as well as a better comprehension of how to transfer theoretical knowledge to more specifically policy-oriented engagements.
The international panel of lecturers will be discussing migration from different countries in the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa, in both contemporary and historical settings. Discussions with refugees themselves will center on issues like how to listen to refugee stories, how they should be used and who is justified in using them. We will all reflect on how religious communities respond to the local immigration situation and how individuals and communities engage with the issues from an ethical or value-based belief system. Field trips will enable students to engage in participatory observation of migration interfaces in Turkey.
It is worth to mention that this year Salahaddin University will also participate in the Aladdin Project by sending two students from the Department of Social work, College of Arts.
Salahaddin University will continue participating in the coming years and look forward to holding one summer university workshop in Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan Region (safe heaven for all national and international refugees and displaced people)
On this occasion, Salahaddin University would like to thank the most respected persons mentioned their names below for their great continuous work for achieving and partnering and creating the link of Salahaddin University with Aladdin Project.
- Dr.Bakhtiar Amin(email@example.com), born in 1959 in Kirkuk, is a Kurdish Iraqi politician who was the Human Rights Minister in the Iraqi Interim Government from June 2004 to May 2005.
- Mrs.Clémence Daudon(firstname.lastname@example.org ), Program Manager at the Aladdin Project / Project Aladdin – UNESCO, Paris Area, France.
This appreciation is also extended to those whom worked and helped in one way or another to success participation of Salahaddin University in this important academic-Cultural youth project.
Kurdistan Region – Iraq;
Updated July 11th, 2018
For further information, please contact; بۆ زانیارى زیاتر تكایه پهبوهندى بكه به
Assistant Professor Dr.Mohammed Azeez Saeed
Erasmus+ Supervisor and Coordinator
Erasmus plus Coordination Office, International Cooperation
Salahaddin University-Erbil; Kurdistan Region-Iraq