Investing in the future: leaders for Syria

Germany is financing degree courses at German universities for more than 200 talented young Syrians

April 20th, 2018
Berlin Global, News from Berlin
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Foreign Minister Maas with the Leadership for Syria scholarship holders Florian Gaertner/photothek.net

In the eighth year of war in Syria, an entire generation is at risk of growing up without prospects. To prevent this, Germany is financing degree courses at German universities for more than 200 talented young Syrians

Twenty-eight-year-old Mustafa Karahamad is one of the scholarship holders. He recently completed his studies in history and politics at the University of Siegen and hopes one day to be able to use what he has learned to benefit his home region once the crisis is over. He is a co-founder of the NGO Academpower, the goal of which is to support young Syrians with their training so that they can help rebuild their country. He is also an editor and writer for the English-Arabic news site MPC Journal.

Contributing to Syria's future
“Training young Syrians here in Germany is an investment in the future of Syria for the time when this terrible conflict will have come to an end,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas emphasised at a meeting with the scholarship holders on 19 April. Margret Wintermantel, President of the German Academic Exchange Service, gave a positive assessment of the project: “The scholarship holders settled into the German universities quickly and have laid the foundation for a successful future. They are now in a position to make a significant contribution to shaping Syria’s future once the war there has come to an end.”

In the 2015/2016 winter semester, 221 Syrian students commenced their studies at a German university with the help of a German Academic Exchange Service scholarship. The Federal Foreign Office is providing 16.8 million euros to fund 200 scholarship holders under the Leadership for Syria programme. Another 21 students are receiving funding to the tune of 1.5 million euros from the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Culture and Science.

Preparing for reconstruction
After completing their studies, Mustafa and his fellow scholarship holders intend either to continue their academic career by pursuing a doctorate or to first gain a foothold on the German labour market. This will help counteract the shortage of skilled workers in Germany and at the same time the graduates acquire practical work experience which is ideal preparation for future employment in their home country. They are all engaged in many forms of social and voluntary activity and share the desire to play a key role in rebuilding their homeland.


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