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University of Florida: Offer 5 scholarships to Syrian students

We call on University of Florida to provide at least 5 scholarships to Syrian students for upcoming classes. We also call on UF to join the Syria Consortium and encourage other institutions to join by raising awareness about the plight of Syrian students. We also call on leaders of the international community to take action to protect school and students in Syria, by whatever means necessary.

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Started by: Nizar Altawam & Sameer Saboungi

Millions of Syrian high school graduates and college students are unable to pursue their dream of a college degree because of the conflict in their country. University students and professors have often been targeted by the violence, and thousands of schools have either been destroyed or become inaccessible, unfairly depriving Syrian students from their right to education. Millions of young Syrian students are now refugees, and face various difficult barriers in their pursuit of higher education. Universities around the nation can take immediate action to help provide Syrian students opportunities to further their education, thus helping preserve Syria's intellectual capital and build its future generation, which will be crucial to rebuilding the country after the war is over.

As UF students, we urge our University of Florida administration to create scholarship opportunities for Syrian refugees to pursue their higher education here in the Swamp. We urge the University of Florida to join the International Institute of Education's (IIE) Syria Consortium, made up of 40 other universities committed to offering Syrian students and scholars a safe haven to continue their studies abroad. The consortium has supported 333 students thus far and hopes to support many more in the coming years, with UF's help. As an internationally renowned institution of higher learning, the University of Florida can practically contribute to alleviating the unprecedented humanitarian crisis Syrians are facing by providing such academic and educational opportunities for them.

The president of the IIE, Allan E. Goodman, has stated that it "would be a game changer if every college and university in America agreed to take a Syrian student." Providing such aid and opportunity to Syrian refugees is not just advantageous for them, but also for the profile of the university as well. This initiative can help further UF's mission of "internationalizing" our university, and truly making our campus community more global, inclusive and diverse.

Over 6,400 enrolled students enter the University of Florida each year, joining a community of approximately 50,000 Gators. The University of Florida also offers many generous scholarships to help offset the costs of tuition and living. As UF students, we think that some seats and scholarship money should go to five Syrian refugees, who would otherwise have little chance at pursuing a higher education. Therefore, we are calling on UF to continue its commitment to equal opportunity, by joining the IIE Syria Consortium and offer scholarship opportunities to five Syrian students. We hope that UF can continue to be a leader to other universities around the state and country by offering these Syrian students a second chance at getting their collegiate education. UF will only benefit from this and from these students' contributions, as will they benefit tremendously from becoming fellow Gators!

"It is our hope that Florida may become to our neighbors the symbol of those things that promote peace rather than war, an agency for confidence rather than suspicion, a medium of understanding rather than misunderstanding, a source of friendship rather than friction, a hand-clasp of good will across the seas..." -John J. Tigert, third President of the University of Florida

"I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty." -John D. Rockefeller