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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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 http://cbet.acphs.edu , 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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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.

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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.

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