After months of forced closure due to ISIL’s occupation Tikrit University celebrates reopening for the 2015-2016 termDec 16, 2015
In cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Tikrit University hosted an event on 16 December to commemorate its reopening for the 2015-2016 academic year.
The school was forced to close when fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) overtook the campus during their onslaught of Tikrit in July 2014. During months of occupation, ISIL used parts of the University as a base of operations. Following a long period of intense fighting, the Government of Iraq liberated the city in March of this year. Once security was reestablished, the people and the Government of Iraq embarked down the long road of rebuilding the capital of Salah Al Din governorate and restoring a sense of normalcy for citizens returning to their homes. A key part of stabilizing life in Tikrit was the decision by the University administration to restore the campus in time for the 2015-2016 academic year.
UNDP notes the remarkable efforts of young volunteers to clean up the city and restore the facilities in time for the fall semester. The reopening of the University is a great example of the resolve of the people of Tikrit, who have returned to their communities and restarted their lives after enduring so much.
In order to prepare for the incoming 16,000 students, UNDP implemented a project to clean and restore nine facilities on the Tikrit University campus, along with infrastructure and surrounding gardens and landscapes. The work is an element of the livelihoods activities of UNDP’s Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization (FFIS), which supports the Government’s stabilization initiatives in areas liberated from ISIL control.
UNDP partnered with two non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the Human Relief Foundation and Al Noor Universal Foundation, to employ over 400 youth from Tikrit to clean, paint, and lightly rehabilitate public buildings, streets, mosques, schools, and other community buildings. UNDP’s cash for work project has helped facilitate the return of civil society organizations that assist vulnerable and at-risk demographics in Tikrit. One of the most active groups involved has been the Tikrit Youth Council, which has been heralded by the Mayor of Tikrit as key to Tikrit’s stability.
UNDP and the Tikrit Youth Council engaged up to 120 of the volunteers to clean, clear and refurbish large areas of Tikrit University. The efforts of University staff along with Tikrit’s youth workers quickly restored several buildings including the Colleges of Law, Literature, Political Science and Education, as well as the Library and one of the women’s dormitories.
Owing to the joint efforts of the Government and people of Tikrit as well as the University, UNDP and partner NGOs, students are once again attending classes on campus and Tikrit University is well on its way to being fully restored.
Andrew Cheatham, Strategic Communications Officer for FFIS