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Queen Mary continues to support the rebuilding of higher education in Syria

Queen Mary University of London has hosted a Syrian academic in exile, consolidating its support for academics at risk and the rebuilding of higher education in Syria.

30 July 2019


Dr Fuad Alhaj Omar and Dr Joe Briscoe

Queen Mary is among a number of British universities engaged in the Syria Programme launched by the Council for At Risk Academics (Cara) in 2016. Previous reports by Cara have highlighted the devastation that the eight-year conflict has caused the higher education sector in the country.

As part of Queen Mary’s continued support for the programme the university hosted Dr Fuad Alhaj Omar on a Research Incubation Visit in the School of Engineering and Materials Science. During his time at Queen Mary, Dr Fuad Alhaj Omar was mentored by Dr Joe Briscoe, Lecturer in Functional Materials.

Research with real-world impact

Dr Fuad Alhaj Omar’s research centres on improving solar systems for Syrian households in the north of the country so that they are less reliant on generators. The placement at Queen Mary has enabled him to take this research forward.

“I have had a great experience here at Queen Mary and in addition to my own research, I have been given the opportunity to learn about funding proposals and grant applications. I will use my skills and knowledge when I continue work on my second PhD at Selçuk University in Turkey,” said Dr Omar.

Council for At Risk Academics (Cara)

The Council for At Risk Academics (Cara) launched its Syria Programme in 2016 to provide support to academics affected by the Syria crisis. Queen Mary has been involved with Cara since 2015.

Most Syrian academics in exile, in Turkey, Lebanon to elsewhere, intend to return to Syria when they can. The Cara Syria Programme provides academics to continue to grow professionally so that they will be able to help re-build a better system of higher education when they can eventually return. 

Professor Colin Grant, Vice Principal (International), said: “Queen Mary is proud to support a growing number of Syrian academics through the Cara Syria Programme. In addition to working with our colleagues in exile, the initiative also provides an important opportunity to develop future research collaborations with our world-leading academics.”

Will Hutton, Teaching Fellow in Queen Mary’s Language Centre, coordinates the Cara Syria Programme at Queen Mary. He said: “Queen Mary's support for the Cara Syria Programme has been invaluable in opening up international opportunities for Syrian academics in exile.

“Research Incubation Visits provide an opportunity for Syrian academics to develop their research with the help of a mentor in their field. They also promote international disciplinary networks and a deeper understanding of international standards in research.

“Fuad has been working with me for over two years on improving his English for Academic Purposes (EAP) through weekly online classes as part of the Cara Syria Programme and it is wonderful to see him thrive at Queen Mary and further develop his disciplinary network and skills.”

More information:

For media information, contact:

Paul Jordan
Faculty Communications Manager (HSS)
email: p.jordan@qmul.ac.uk