Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

MIIS Welcomes Three Iraqi Students as Part of New Iraqi Government Initiative

MIIS Welcomes 3 Iraqi Students

Iraqi students learning an American custom – carving a Halloween pumpkin!

October 29, 2010

Waleed Khalid Abdulabbas is so keen to get started on his proposed graduate degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) that he couldn’t help feeling disappointed to find the Institute closed on the day he arrived in Monterey—September 6, Labor Day. His enthusiasm for study is not lost on anyone in the Intensive English Program, where Waleed is preparing to pass the high standards in English required for enrollment in the Institute’s TESOL program.

Before coming to Monterey, Waleed worked as an interpreter and translator with the United States Army in Iraq and taught English to employees of several nongovernmental organizations in Bagdad. His colleague Adnan Adel Shehab Al-Hammody, who is also planning to matriculate into the TESOL program, was translating academic texts in Baghdad after earning a bachelor’s degree in Translation from Mosul University. Mohammed Salman Abdulmajeed, on the other hand, aims to earn a degree in business administration through the Fisher International MBA program. He has a bachelor’s degree in Information Science from Mosul University and is very interested in information systems.

All three students are sponsored through the Higher Committee for Education Development (HCED) in the Iraqi Prime Minister’s Office, granting students a comprehensive scholarship that, in addition to covering the costs of their graduate degree, allows for one year of English language preparation. This initiative was launched in the fall of 2010 with a pilot program of over five hundred students sent to study at universities in the US and the United Kingdom. All students must pass strict academic requirements and commit to return to Iraq upon the completion of their degrees.


I think this is a great idea. This is not the first program I have seen Iraqis come over to the US to study, but it does show signs of hope for the country. My only concern is that the Iraqi government ensure diversity in its distribution of students. Considering there is a shi'a majority, it leads one to worry they will favor that group over the Sunnis and Kurds. Hopefully, this is not the case and we will see the country grow equally despite sectarian divides.

I have met the three new Iraq students and they are most impressive!

I recruited in Iraq two years ago as a member of the first US university group to go there and,even though the first three students here are men, we were assured by the very impressive director of the program, Dr. Humadi, that women would be equally represented in the program. I understand that there are more Iraqui students in the pipeline.

Incidentally, I was driven in a tank-like vehicle from the airport to Baghdad and was required to wear a bullet-proff vest, which is to say that recruiting in Iraq is different from rcruiting in Iowa!

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