• image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
Monday, 08 February 2016 20:59

Assistance from Australian religious helped establish first Catholic university in Iraq

Rate this item
(0 votes)

iraq sisters scholars150The scholarships provided by the Holy Spirit Sisters and Catholic Religious Australia Queensland (CRAQld) have been acknowledged in the establishment of Iraq’s first Catholic university which opened on 8 December 2015, the start of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, reports The Catholic Leader.

Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, who sought support from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Australian Catholic University for the institution, opened the Catholic University in Erbil (CUE) which has about 500 students enrolled in four faculties.

The ACBC gave financial support and ACU is supporting the Iraq university through training staff.

ACU Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students, Learning and Teaching) Professor Anne Cummins said ACU had established a project to support the Iraq university after Archbishop Warda appealed for help at the International Federation of Catholic Universities 25th General Assembly in Melbourne in July.

“He spoke very movingly of the plight of the people in Erbil and also of the refugees from Mosul, and of the dilemma for young people who were unable to complete their studies (because of war and terrorism),” Prof Cummins said.

Archbishop Warda decided the best way to respond to the nation’s turmoil was through educating the young people. He wanted to establish the university that would be for all people, not just Catholics, and he wanted it would be a place of peace.

Brisbane priest Fr Gerry Hefferan has been supporting Archbishop Warda’s efforts with education since visiting Erbil in 2009 and was invited to the university opening but unable to attend.

“(CUE) is a wonderful project bringing hope to those who are settled in northern Iraq and those who are refugees there,” Fr Hefferan said.

“I’m very grateful to the Holy Spirit Sisters and Catholic Religious Australia Queensland for their support for the original scholarships.”

Those scholarships were in support of studies at ACU for Daughters of Jesus’ Sacred Heart Sisters Samar Mikha and Azhar Koka, of Erbil.

Featured image is a 2012 file photo from the Australian Catholic University website showing (clockwise) Sister Azhar Koka (Chaldean), Fr Gerry Hefferan, Sister Pauline Robinson (Franciscan), Sister Samar Mikha (Chaldean) and Associate Professor Lindsay Farrell.

Read the full story "ACU offers hand of support in Iraq in time for Year of Mercy" published on 9 December by The Catholic Leader.