Students at more than 155 universities including Columbia, Yale, Georgetown, University of Michigan and University of California Berkeley launched a nationwide effort calling on American universities to provide scholarships for Syrian students displaced by conflict. This student-led campaign called “Books Not Bombs” held silent demonstrations on campuses across the country and asked universities to join the International Institute of Education’s (IIE) Syria Consortium for Higher Education in Crisis. The scholarships are intended to help Syrian students continue their education safely in the United States and build Syria’s next generation of lawyers, architects, engineers, doctors and teachers.
“Higher education is a pillar of development and a human right,” says Tasneem Sannah, lead organizer of Michigan State University’s Books Not Bombs’ campaign. “When you have a situation like Syria where there are targeted airstrikes deliberately destroying schools and students are routinely picked up and tortured in prison, it’s a serious problem that will have repercussions both today and tomorrow.”