While the world fails to stop the fighting in Syria we need to do what we can to help our fellow students.
Syria needs a next generation of lawyers, architects, doctors and teachers and we can help with that. Your college can offer a scholarship to a Syrian student enabling them to receive a safe and quality education.
It's the most practical and effective thing universities can do to respond to what the UN calls 'the greatest humanitarian emergency of our time'.
In 2011 Syrians took to the streets to demand their freedom from dictatorship -- asking for the same freedom and democracy that you and I enjoy in the United States. It was a beautiful, peaceful revolution in which campuses transformed into centres for planning, creating and imagining a beautiful new world.
This was a different dream than that of the Syrian Government who met the uprising with brutal force and now Syria has been at war for nearly five years leading to the deaths of over 250,000 people, the displacement of 10 million – half the country – and the emergence of some of the most radical, violent groups on the planet, especially ISIS.
Young people have not been spared from the horrors of this conflict with attacks on education centers being used as a weapon of war. On January 15, 2013, two airstrikes hit Aleppo University on the first day of final exams, killing 82 students. These aerial attacks are the main reason why 3.3 million Syrian students cannot go to school, either because schools have been destroyed or because of fear of future attacks. Extremist groups, such as ISIS, also deprive Syrian students of their right to a normal education, by occupying schools, hijacking school curricula, and limiting education access for women.
Even Syrian students those that have made it to safety in countries like Lebanon or Turkey, often times there are barriers which prevent refugee students from a university education. We need to send them a message that education is a right, and we want our universities to welcome Syrian refugees with books, not bombs.