Books Not Bombs is a student-led campaign creating scholarships for displaced Syrian students. We call on universities to join the Institute of International Education’s Syria Consortium and waive tuition for a number of displaced Syrian students, enabling them to receive a safe and quality education they deserve.
Our Values

We believe education is a human right as defined in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


We believe every student deserves access to a safe and quality education, and recognize inequities in access to education.


We believe in championing local advocacy and community building, both across America and abroad.


We recognize that the root of the Syrian education crisis lies in the Assad regime's brutal repression of the Syrian revolution, and believe that resolving the education crisis requires a fair political transition and accountability for all war crimes.


We acknowledge the vital academic, financial and sociocultural contributions that international, immigrant and displaced students continue to make at universities and throughout society.

FAQ + - (click to open)
  • Who’s behind this campaign?Books Not Bombs was launched in 2016 by Students Organize For Syria and STAND in response to the Syrian education crisis, and are an initiative of Karam Foundation.
  • What’s your strategy for creating scholarships?Our strategy is to mobilize students, educators and administrators by providing them with a set of clear actions in our campaign toolkit, resources and support that lead to the creation of scholarship opportunities for displaced students at their university.
  • How does this campaign work? Do I have to fundraise?No, there is no fundraising required with our campaign. Students and educators work to raise awareness on the Syrian education crisis and build support for their university to formally commit to joining the IIE’s Syria Consortium for Higher Education In Crisis.

We recommend students fundraise for the Karam Scholars fund, which provides grants and professional development opportunities to help Syrian students affected by the conflict complete their studies and achieve their goals in Turkey, Jordan, and the United States. You can donate directly to the fund here or start a fundraiser here by clicking “become a fundraiser.”

  • Why do you focus on Syrian students from conflict areas? Our campaign was started by Syrian American students in early 2016 as a response to the urgent and on-going education crisis in Syria. Our mission is to serve Syrian students whose education was disrupted by the conflict by creating scholarships that are open to them. Syrian students also face heightened and targetted discrimination in many countries where they seek refuge, and we believe higher education has a role to play in combatting this discrimination. We stand in solidarity with related efforts to increase educational and scholarship opportunities for all students everywhere.
  • How do these scholarships work? Do they cover living expenses or just tuition? How can I apply to them?Each university that’s a part of this movement creates an opportunity that lowers the financial barrier for a student displaced from conflict. We offer guidance and advice on what metrics should be tailored to serve displaced students better, but ultimately the specifics of a scholarship are up to the university. For example, some universities offer full scholarships, while others provide tuition-fee waivers. To see all the scholarship opportunities, visit IIE Peer.
  • Who are you creating these scholarships for?Any Syrian student whose education was disrupted by conflict. The student can be inside Syria, a refugee outside the country, resettled in America, under Temporary Protected Status, or seeking asylum at the time of application. To see all the scholarship opportunities, visit IIE Peer.
  • I go to a public university. Can I still work on this campaign?Yes. Usually, public universities have restrictions on creating scholarships for students of a specific nationality. These institutions can still join the IIE’s Syria Consortium by creating scholarships open to students from any and all conflict zones.
  • My university already has scholarships for Syrian students, can I still join the campaign?Yes. Your job is a little bit easier now that your school already created scholarships: urge your university to advertise the scholarships by joining the IIE’s Syria Consortium and advertising their opportunity on the PEER platform. If your university has already accepted students from conflict zones, look into ways to support your peers (University of Evansville’s Scholars For Syria is a good example). Other actions you can take include holding an event to raise awareness on attacks on schools in Syria and fundraising for Karam Foundation’s Karam Scholars program.
  • I go to a university outside of the United States. Can I still join the campaign?Absolutely. Books Not Bombs is a transnational campaign, and we work with people and universities around the world.
  • What happens after displaced students enroll at my university? How do we support them?The university environment is a perfect place to welcome and support displaced students. A great example of students and educators coming together for new students is at the University of Evansville, a small school in Indiana. Evansville created twenty-two scholarships for Syrian students whose education was disrupted by the conflict. The Evansville community then set up Scholars For Syria, a support network for the students that also provides them the opportunity to make presentations about the conflict to educate classrooms throughout the community.