Anthony Bailey, vice president for strategic and global initiatives, and Elizabeth A. Graddy, vice provost of academic and faculty affairs, issued a memorandum Friday advocating for USC’s further involvement in the support of Syrian scholars and students.
The Provost accepted the Graduate Student Government Senate’s request for USC to become a member of the Institute of International Education’s Syria Consortium for Higher Education in Crisis.
Beside joining the consortium, USC will devote itself to “providing scholarships each academic year for at least three Syrian students who meet the standards for admission to the university,” according to the memorandum.
Among USC’s other efforts in providing educational opportunities to endangered scholars, as mentioned in the statement, are its membership in Scholars at Risk and the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund.
GSG released its resolution advocating for USC to join the Consortium in October 2015, stating that in light of the fact that “the Syrian Civil War is in its fifth year, and there is no indication that a peaceful resolution to the conflict is forthcoming,” and that since many other American universities have made the effort to join the Consortium, it is USC’s core values that “compel it to act in solidarity with Syrian students and scholars.”
The Institute of International Education was founded in 1919 and has dedicated itself to providing advanced education opportunities around the world through scholarships, policy discussion and “protecting scholarship around the world,” according to their website.
The IIE Syria Consortium has declared a state of academic emergency in the wake of the crisis in Syria, urging universities to provide scholarships to Syrian students.
In the memo, Dean of Religious Life Varun Soni was named as the liaison between the University and incoming Syrian students in order to “cultivate a safe haven for these displaced scholars and students,” while also striving to “afford them every opportunity to succeed in their academic endeavors here.”
“This is a worthy cause and one that is consistent with our values and our goal of becoming the leading private institution dedicated to the global public good,” Bailey and Graddy said in the memo. “We are dedicated to continuing our important work with Scholars at Risk and the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund to help secure placements for these academics, as appropriate.”