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Baghdad Welcomes The American University Of Iraq - Baghdad

August 04th, 2020


The American University of Iraq ndash Baghdad (AUIB) began as a dream of influential individuals in Iraqi and United States business, industry and government who wanted to see a world-class institution of higher learning established in the city, reminiscent of the days when Baghdad was an educational mecca and the flourishing capital of the Muslim world.  Baghdad was once home to the House of Wisdom, a major intellectual center during the Islamic Golden Age.  From the 9th to the 13th centuries this prestigious academy attracted scholars from throughout the region.  The House of Wisdoma precursor to modern universitiesbecame a major center of teaching and research in the humanities and sciences with studies conducted in mathematics, chemistry, zoology, geography, astronomy and more.  For nearly 500 years the House of Wisdom hosted the cream of the intellectual elite.  By the 9th Century the House of Wisdom had grown into the largest repository of books in the world.   

The House of Wisdom was destroyed during the sack of the city following the Mongol siege of Baghdad, thus beginning the decline of the Islamic Golden Age.  Regardless, Baghdad remained a vibrant, thriving city.  There was freedom of expression and cultural and religious tolerance.  With its wide tree-lined streets, outdoor cafes, busy food stalls and bookstores, Baghdad was wealthy and proud.  All of this changed in 1980 when the war with Iran began.  Since then, Baghdad has been under a near-continuous stage of siege that has all but destroyed the city. Saddam Husseinrsquos decades in power resulted in unthinkable chaos and terror, leading to the U.S. invasion of the city in 2003 that leveled much of the metropolis.

Today, it is nearly impossible to envision what Baghdad was like during its hey-day.  However, the vision of the founders of AUIB is to establish a new university that will pave the way for a revival in Baghdad.  It is entirely fitting that the location of AUIB is centered around Saddamrsquos old Al-Faw Palace, near the airport.  To locate a university at this site makes perfect sense, for only through education can violence and hatredthe hallmarks of Saddamrsquos regimebe mitigated.     

The main palace and many of the smaller palaces/structures will soon be completely renovated and become home to a College of Law, College of Medicine, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business and more. There will be a grand library, residence halls for faculty and students, cafes and coffee houses, and athletic facilities. The English Language Academy will become the premiere facility in the region and will inspire first-class academic achievement thereby encouraging students to think critically and creatively among a global community.  Grass and trees will be planted. Wildlife will be returned to the grounds.  The lakes will be cleaned.  Bike and walking paths will be added.  It will be a quiet, contemplative place as a university should be. It will soon become a campus that attracts students, faculty and staff from throughout the world.  And it will, indeed, begin the revival of Baghdad so that it returns to its former days of glory.

By Workgroup Team

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