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An Open Letter to Presidents of Learned Societies, University Leaders and Academics

On Oct. 28, 2020, The Iraqi National Parliament passed the “Foundations of University Degree Equivalency Act”, which represents a substantial rewriting and expansion of the previous instructions for degree equivalence of Arab and Foreign Certificates and Degrees No. 5 of 1976. The Act has provoked crises within the higher education institutions in Iraq by allowing the recognition of foreign higher degrees in ways far from meeting the high standards of previously used to establish Iraqi educational equivalency of university-level degrees. It has made conditions for granting academic titles to members of Parliament, ministers and high-ranking government officials, thus in effect creating a two-tier system for dealing with degree equivalency. It has also allowed several governmental bodies to award academic titles to their employees without giving due importance to the academic qualifications. The Act has also abolished the research thesis as a requirement for the PhD degree and drastically reduced the period of residency at the host country with respect to meeting the requirement for obtaining a degree. Moreover, the Act has ignored the evaluation process which reflects how international qualifications compare to national qualification standards through consideration of the qualification components.
Violating existing regulations and laws and interfering with the academic processes have led to the erosion of academic standards and threaten basic academic freedoms, democratic governance and participation, and, last but not least, the independence of the universities.
We are writing this appeal for solidarity in utmost shock and despair regarding this attack on our higher education system. The Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the university councils and the majority of professors have vehemently opposed this Act but to no avail.
We appeal to you as academics, researchers and concerned individuals to strongly condemn the attack by the Iraqi parliament on higher education and to express support for Iraqi academics endeavouring to protect higher education form further damage to the integrity and values of the education system. We ask you to stand in solidarity with our attempts to defend the independence of the education system that should be free of any interference from political parties in scientific activities and academic decisions.

Professor Mohamed Al-Rubeai, PhD, FRSB
Chairman, Network of Iraqi Scientists Abroad (NISA)

Professor Sabah A. Mushatat Bio

I moved to academia graduating firstly with a Diploma in Architecture before completing his PhD. I has taught architecture for 30 years, overseas and now in the UK as Professor of Architecture at The University of Wolverhampton and Heriot – Watt University, through them I conducted the post of the Head and Director of Schools of Architecture and Design 
Concentrating mainly on the fields of architecture, environmental and sustainable design, construction and architectural education, I have 8 books published, as well 2 textbooks, and about 80 research papers in refereed journals and conferences. 
I have managed several research contracts, and have generated income through the award of research grants and contracts with value £3.3M. I initiated and managed a range of innovative courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. These awards are fully accredited by national, regional and international bodies and authorities. 

I have several national and international scientific bodies, such as the United Nations Environment Program UNEP, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO.
He has worked as a consultant for the governments of Holland, Germany, UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq I served as a member of seven Editorial Boards of International Journals.
Professor Mushatat is the organiser of the prestigious Ajman International Urban Planning Conference (AIUPC), which is held every year in UAE, also the prestigious Qatar Urbanism Forum in MIPIM (The World’s Leading Real Estate Exhibition and conference), that been held in Palais de Fastivals –Cannes, France.
My published outputs are books (10), Textbooks (2), about more than 100 refereed journal articles and conference papers , Research Reports (12), and National and International presentations (8). Most of my research and publications are on Architecture, Environmental and Sustainable Design, and Construction, management aspects.I have supervised numerous postgraduate dissertations and Doctoral thesis in my field of expertise. I have strong track record of PhD supervision with 18 PhD completions. In addition, I have been invited to examine 6 Masters and 22 PhD dissertations in the UK, Middle East, Asia, Europe and Australia.

Professor Mohamed Al-Rubeai presents a keynote talk to the 2nd International Conference of the Institute of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Baghdad

Professor Al-Rubeai presented a keynote plenary talk entitled “Optimisation Strategies for Large scale production of therapeutic products from mammalian cells” at the 2nd International Conference of the Institute of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Baghdad, 15-16 October, 2014. Production of therapeutic biopharmaceuticals has an exciting prospect for Iraq but it will need great infrastructure and availability of high skilled personnel along with a strong scientific community. Professor Al-Rubeai’s research is on optimisation of large scale processes for the production of biopharmaceuticals from mammalian cells.