Wright State program recruits Iraqi students

FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) – A Wright State University program is helping bright minds from Iraq get an education in Dayton, and it’s what’s working in the Miami Valley.

It’s all part of an international partnership between the US Department of State and the Iraqi government.

At least four Iraqi students will be on campus at the public university this summer.

The campus expects at least 10 more come this fall, which administrators said is a testament to the program’s growth.

A group of professors and administrators first visited the war torn capital, Baghdad, last summer to recruit students pursing graduate and Ph.D. degrees.

The Iraqi government is providing full scholarships to those students and once they graduate, officials hope they will use their degrees to further the country.

Stephen Foster, who led the Wright State team, said the country is still rebuilding.

“It–it’s a very sobering experience. And during the five days we were in Baghdad, every day, there were bombings and suicide bombings and explosions,” said the associate vice president of Wright State University’s International Affairs department.

Fady Albanna is a senior finance student, who left behind the scenes of the war and post-war that Foster described to 2 NEWS.

Now, his hopes are that he, and students like him, use the Wright State education to give back.

“My hope is that they will go back to Iraq and revolutionize the higher education sectors in different ways because it has been paralyzed over the last few decades, but I think there is a hope by rebuilding the higher education system by sending all these students to study in the United States,” said the 23-year-old.

There is one catch to this program, students must return with a degree to Iraq; otherwise, they’ll have to pay back twice the amount of their scholarship.

However, Wright State officials are confident every Iraqi student will cross the stage.

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