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A Letter of Support to Student and Staff Protesters

To the courageous students and staff of Columbia University, and to all those protesting at universities across the globe:

We stand with you in unwavering support as you raise your voices against the ongoing human rights violations against the Palestinian people in Gaza. Your unwavering commitment to truth and justice in the face of immense suffering is truly inspiring.

The systematic silencing of dissent, as exemplified by Columbia University President Shafik’s suppression of peaceful protests, is a blatant disregard for the very essence of academic freedom. Universities should be crucibles of open discourse, not echo chambers that silence uncomfortable truths.

The narrative of Israeli dominance and the demonisation of Palestinians are crumbling. You, the young generation, are recognising the undeniable vulnerability of the Palestinian people and their fundamental right to life and self-determination.

We applaud your refusal to be swayed by misinformation and your insistence on holding your institutions accountable for their complicity in the ongoing tragedy. Your demand to sever ties with entities that perpetuate the Israeli occupation and the brutal oppression of Palestinians deserves to be heard loud and clear.

This is not about antisemitism; it is about standing up against the atrocities committed against the Palestinian people. It is about demanding an end to the illegal occupation and the recognition of Palestinians’ basic human rights.

Universities have a fundamental duty to:

  • Protect peaceful protests: The use of force against students and staff exercising their right to free speech is utterly unacceptable.
  • Embrace open debate: Unpopular views, even when uncomfortable, should be a catalyst for learning and critical thought.
  • Champion academic freedom: Suppressing dissent undermines the very foundation of a university’s purpose.

We urge the faculties of all universities to follow the lead of Columbia’s Senate and hold their administrations accountable for upholding these core values.

We stand with you, the students and staff protesters, as you courageously advocate for justice and challenge the status quo. Your unwavering commitment to truth and the Palestinian people’s right to freedom is an inspiration to us all.

Network of Iraqi Scientists Abroad (NISA)

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NISA Welcomes Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi

I am delighted to announce that NISA welcomes Dr. Bashir Al-Hashimi, a renowned Professor of Computer Engineering from King’s College London, as our latest member.

We extend our gratitude to Bashir for joining our network and are eager to benefit from his expertise in delivering optimal support and guidance to Iraqi institutions.

Mohamed Al-Rubeai

Contact details:

Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi, CBE, FREng, FRS

Vice President (Research & Innovation), ARM Professor of Computer Engineering.

Research subject areas: Engineering, Computer Science



Address: King’s College London, Strand Campus, Strand, London WC2R 2LS, UK


News from KCL:

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Honorary Doctorate for Professor Mohamed Al-Rubeai

The National University of Ireland honorary degree conferring ceremony took place on Tuesday the 7th of March 2023, in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2 at 4.00 pm.

At the ceremony, the Chancellor of the University, Dr Maurice Manning, conferred honorary degrees on Professor Mohamed Al-Rubeai, for his contribution to science and noted contributions in public life.



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Professor Kamal Rashid opens new biopharma center

Professor Kamal Rashid, director of the new Center for Biopharmaceutical Education and Training (CBET) at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) has been officially opened. The CBET is a $37.3 million training center dedicated to workforce development in the rapidly growing biopharmaceutical industry. The opening ceremony was attended by a number of NY politicians and friends of the College.

CBET is ACPHS’ response to the rapidly growing biopharmaceutical field’s need for an educated workforce, which has been cited as the single largest constraint to growth in the biopharma industry. The new center , the first of its kind in New York and the first created by a pharmacy college, has the potential to establish the Capital Region as a biopharma hub by helping biopharmaceutical companies develop biomanufacturing processes and products to get to market faster and more cost effectively; train their workforce in all aspects of biomanufacturing, and graduate a new generation of pharmacists who have hands-on experience in biomanufacturing and bioprocessing. The Centre has already received $4.5M from  supporter for the center which includes naming the center and one labs. It took Professor Rashid two years to select the facility, hire the faculty and staff and equip the center with the latest equipment used in upstream and downdstream processing of a bio-based product.

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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)

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