#11: Bridging Cultures through Higher Education: The Iraqi Student Project

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IraqMattersLogoThe 2003 occupation of Iraq and subsequent increase in violence left many young Iraqis displaced and unable to pursue their higher education. For this reason, Gabe and Theresa, a couple from upstate New York, decided to start the Iraqi Student Project. Their mission was to help young Iraqis obtain their undergraduate education in reputable US colleges and universities, with the intent that these students would return to Iraq work towards the rebuilding of their war-torn country.

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ISP founders: Theresa Kubasak and Gabe Huck

This week’s episode of IraqMatters shines light on this inspirational journey that has changed the lives of 60 Iraqi students. Our very own Communications and Programs Associate, Taif Jany, a first-group ISP student (class of 2008), talks with the founders of the Iraqi Student Project, Gabe Huck and Theresa Kubasak, about what influenced them to start the program in 2005 and it’s continued success since then. Taif also chats with two of his fellow ISP students, Ahmed Tarik and Sara Sabaa, and how their unique life stories and experience with the Iraqi Student Project have forever changed their lives.

This podcast conveys the imperative message that even grassroots efforts can have a tremendous impact on the lives of many individuals. It also demonstrates the importance of connecting Iraqis with Americans, and offering the US public an opportunity to experience and learn from the strong, ancient and historic culture and traditions of Iraq and its people.

This episode also features EPIC’s founder and Executive Director, Erik Gustafson, sharing his remarks on the President’s State of the Union address, and Musing on Iraq blogger, Joel Wing, gives the latest updates on Iraq and the surrounding region.

We finish the episode with an update on the current humanitarian situation in Iraq and the Human Rights Watch’s latest reports on violations of both civil and human rights in Iraq.

We at EPIC are very thankful for your continuous support of our cause and mission. Currently, our petition on Change.org is only 1,716 signatures short from reaching our 10,000 goal. If you believe that Iraq matters and have not signed our petition yet, please take a moment and visit Iraqmatters.org petition page. We also need YOU to help us spread the word and share our podcast and petition with your family and friends. We to invite you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you enjoy our IraqMatters podcast, and would like to hear more, please subscribe to our itunes, Stitcher, and YouTube channels. And if you have any feedback, or suggestions for what topics you would like us to cover in future episodes, we would love to hear from you, so TALK to us!

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Theresa with a few ISP students in Damascus, Syria

“I’m going to the fertile crescent, the cradle of civilization. The land between two rivers, we’re going to Mesopotamia.”

Theresa Kubasak