AUIS Professor Wins PEN Translates Award

November 23, 2017 (Sulaimani, KRG-Iraq):  Dr. Choman Hardi, a celebrated poet and Assistant Professor at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS), won a 2017 PEN Translates Award for translating Butterfly Valley, a book length poem by the renowned Kurdish poet, Sherko Bekas. Butterfly Valley is a lament which was written in the aftermath of the gassing of Halabja and the Anfal genocide. Supported by Arts Council England and launched in 2012, PEN Translates encourages UK publishers to accumulate books from other languages. It is part of English PEN, the global literary network that works to defend and promote freedom of expression, and to remove barriers to literature. Bekas was a pioneer in Kurdish poetry and his poems are widely read. His Butterfly Valley was written in the wake of the 1988 Anfal genocide and Halabja atrocity when Saddam Hussein’s regime punished Kurdish civilians for their support of the liberation movement. During Anfal dozens of locations were attacked with chemical weapons, 2000 villages were destroyed, and more than 100,000 civilians were exterminated. In the same year, Halabja was gassed by the former Iraqi state and 5000 people were murdered. Both the Anfal and Halabja tragedies are central to Bekas’s book. Dr. Hardi, who teaches English literature at AUIS, reflects on Bekas’s poems and explains that his complex poetic language combined with various references to historical Kurdish events, personalities, and geographic locations makes understanding his poetry difficult for non-Kurds. “This translation has been a lengthy and complicated process but despite the difficulties I have tremendously enjoyed working on Butterfly Valley,” she says. “Sherko Bekas has a few book length poems but this one remains my favorite.” She remembers that when she first heard of a tape recording of this poem in 1991 she fell in love with it and memorised parts of it. “This book evokes exile, flight, political persecution, and Kurdish history better than any other book I know.” The book will be published by a UK-based independent publishing house, Arc Publication, on March 16, 2018. The date will mark the 30th anniversary of the chemical attack on the city of Halabja. Choman Hardi is an Assistant Professor at AUIS. She returned to Kurdistan to teach after 26 years of living abroad. Her research and teaching interests include poetry, feminist literature, feminist literary criticism, gender and migration, gender and genocide, and women’s activism. Her poetry has appeared in The Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Washington Square Review, and Modern Poetry in Translation. Her English collections have been published by Bloodaxe Books. Four poems from her first collection, Life For Us, were selected onto the English GCSE syllabus in the UK in 2010 and Her second collection, Considering The Women, was shortlisted for the prestigious Forward Prize. In 2015 Dr. Hardi founded The Center for Gender and Development Studies (CGDS) at AUIS. Currently, she is working on gender and the revolution in Iraqi Kurdistan. AUIS is the first non-government, not-for-profit, American-style institution of higher education in Iraq. Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, it is also the first non-government university in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region to be accredited by both the Federal Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government. AUIS offers the only English as a Second Language (ESL) program in Iraq that is accredited in the United States. The University welcomes students, 35% of whom are women, from Iraq’s diverse communities, including Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, Yazidis and Christians as well as Syrian refugees. Their critical thinking skills, fluency in English, and bilingual capabilities provide AUIS graduates with excellent employment prospects in both the private and public sectors. -  ENDS  - Follow AUIS on Twitter or Facebook, or visit the University’s web site at www.auis.edu.krd, for the latest news and details about the University. If you would like to help support the University and its students, please visit the American University of Iraq Foundation's giving site or contact the office of the President, president@auis.edu.krd. For media requests, please contact Bzhar Boskani, media and public relations adviser, at bzhar.ali@auis.edu.krd or 964(0)770-152-1893.

AUIS Lecturer Publishes a Book

Each of the stories tackle social justice issues that have been overlooked. Some are centered around gender-based violence, whether it's the trafficking of young girls to fill brothels for UN peacekeepers or sexual assault that happens in the military. “People are surprised that this stuff happens” she said. Some readers have told her the realness of the stories can be too difficult to read, but Poppe argues, “It’s fictionalized but based on reality, and many young girls have experienced it.” She emphasizes the importance of giving voice to oppressed women through the retelling of their stories. “What I wanted this book to do was to start conversations that have fallen by the wayside.” Poppe travels and her journalistic eye provides a constant inspiration for her work. She mentions life in the West Bank where she also taught, and relates Palestinian struggles to the Kurdish cause. “They are both subjugated people within territories where they have a claim to land and their claim is not recognized.” The idea of identity is a big theme in the book. “[the stories] are about identity and loss, and who we are when our lives get derailed,” she said. When asked if she would teach any of the stories to her students at AUIS, Poppe replied, “I would definitely teach the story “Kurdistan”. It's a story that students can relate to. It’s mostly about being a stranger in a strange land and getting over loss.” One of the stories, "Room 308" was recently taught in a creative writing class at Rutgers University. The story was also recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize in fiction. Girl, World can be bought in print and as an E-book on Amazon, or through Laughing Fire Press. The Massachusetts Review: Girl, World Radio Interview with WBEZ Buy Girl, World on Amazon

AUIS Professor Presents Joint Research at International Scientific Conference in Riga

Dr. Oleksandr Dobzhanskyi, faculty of Department of Engineering, recently represented The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) at the 58th International Scientific Conference on Power and Electrical Engineering of Riga Technical University (RTUCON). The conference was held on October 12-13, 2017, in Riga, Latvia. The paper, “Comparison Analysis of AC PM Transverse-Flux Machines of Different Designs in Terms of Power Density and Cost,” presented by Dr. Dobzhansky at the conference was joint research work by AUIS in cooperation with the University of New Orleans (USA) and North-West University (South Africa). This is the first research work of the University presented in the field of electrical engineering internationally. The paper discusses different designs of transverse flux machines, and their applications in industry and power generation. Dr. Dobzhansky is currently continuing his research in this area by developing an urban-type, self-guided electromagnetic train. The research will be presented at the ITEC 2018 conference in California next year. An associate professor in the engineering department, Dr. Dobzhansky joined AUIS in Fall 2017. His academic and research interests include electric power generation, distribution and protection; electrical machinery; hybrid electric vehicles; wind and ocean wave energy conversion systems. He has worked for different industrial and academic organizations in the USA, South Africa, Peru and Ukraine. He completed his MSc and PhD in electrical engineering from Louisiana State University, USA.

AUIS Professor Attends UNDP Entrepreneurship Conference in Sulaimani

Dr. Farzad Sanati, assistant professor of Information Technology, was invited as an adviser to an entrepreneurship workshop in Sulaimani, Iraq. The three-day event was sponsored by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and was part of the UNDP’s Innovation for Development program. The event aimed to introduce participants to the entrepreneurial mindset and provide hands-on training in high impact entrepreneurship. The advisers and moderators worked with the young participants to develop creative capacity, entrepreneurial confidence, and acquire the necessary skills to build startups that solve real problems. Photo credit: @IraqiYouthCafe

AUIS Faculty Attends Seminar on Research Methods

On October 14, 2017, Dr. Atheer Matroud, assistant professor of Information Technology at AUIS, along with some faculty members of other Iraqi universities, conducted a seminar titled “Sober Scientific Research and Publication in International Journals” organized by The House of Wisdom, in Baghdad. The House of Wisdom is an intellectual and scientific establishment that deals with scholarly research and academic studies. The purpose of the seminar was to establish the best method for writing effective research papers. The audience was introduced to software tools for writing, referencing, and checking for plagiarism. They also addressed problems concerning academic writing in Iraq. During the seminar, Dr. Matroud prioritized the impact of plagiarism, whether done intentionally or unintentionally, citing examples. Unintentional plagiarism is when you accidentally fail to cite your sources correctly, which is still counted as plagiarism and is not acceptable. Dr. Matroud stressed that any form of plagiarism can lead to serious legal implications as well as destroyed reputation or even the loss of a career. The seminar was well attended and organized, with representation from many universities in Iraq. The audience also enjoyed listening to new methods and approaches for writing academic research papers. Some members of public universities also requested to host similar seminars at their institutions. Commenting on the seminar, Dr. Hemin Latif, chair of the IT department at AUIS, said, “Our faculty members at AUIS bring a lot of international expertise that the higher education sector in the country can, and must, benefit from. Dr. Matroud’s seminar is a very good step toward bridging the expertise gap between AUIS and other national institutions.”  Commenting on the quality of research and academic writing at AUIS, Dr. Matroud said: “I have found that at AUIS we are way ahead in training our students, especially, on the topic of writing and plagiarism.” Article by IT Department Communications Intern, Mr. Aran Kamaran.

AUIS Professor Publishes Paper on the Effects of Air Quality on Human Health

AUIS’ newly appointed professor, Dr. Rimantas Kodzius, in collaboration with several colleagues recently published a paper on air quality and its effect on human health. The paper, “Air Quality Effects on Human Health and Approaches for its Assessment through Microfluidic Chips,” was published in the latest issue of Genes in September 2017. The paper emphasizes that air quality depends on the various gases and particles present in it, which is affected by both natural phenomena and human activities. Natural phenomena like dust storms, and man-made factors such as the unprecedented industrial growth in recent years, have contributed immensely to changing air quality values, and correspondingly affected life quality. The research, led by Dr. Kodzius, explains that the values of the so-called particular matter 2.5 (PM2.5) is of high importance, as such small particles can penetrate the human lung barrier and enter the blood system. It stresses that there are cancer cases related to many air pollutants, and especially to PM2.5, contributing to exploding costs within the healthcare system. After identifying the major factors impacting the cleanliness of air, the paper focuses on current and potential future air pollutants and proposes solutions on how to protect human health against such dangerous substances. It recommends that recent developments in the Organ-on-Chip (OoC) technology can play a major role in studying and monitoring air pollution, and can speed up the development of novel pharmaceutical drugs to fight the effects of such pollutants. Dr. Rimantas Kodzius is a guest reviewer for the special issue of Genes journal. In a published editorial with the title “Organ-on-Chip Technology: Current State and Future Developments,” he, with the other editors, gives an overview of the current situation on OoC developments. The editorial also invites other researchers to publish in the special issue of Genes about the OoC research or reviews in this promising field. Commenting on his recent research, Dr. Kodzius says, “We all want to live in a clean environment, lead healthy lives. There are many known and novel, potential pollutants that we encounter in our lives. The research helps to classify and identify the pollutants. For example, asbestos, DDT, lead in gasoline – that all was recognized as highly toxic chemicals, now banned from countries worldwide. As for the minimizing the pollution, the first step would be to identify the sources, identify the pollutants and minimize the exposure to our nature and our bodies.” Dr. Kodzius joined AUIS in Fall 2017 as an associate professor at the Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, he enjoys living in mountainous places such as Sulaimani where he currently resides, he adds “I wish we all live like in a tourist destination, resort-like cities. I like living in the mountains, where the air contains less of the particles. For me living in Sulaimani, Kurdistan is similar like living in Davos, Switzerland where I did my Ph.D.” He is an editor for several scientific journals, including the Genes & Genetic Systems, Archives of Biotechnology and Biomedicine, and a guest editor to Genes, and serves as a reviewer for more than fifteen scientific journals. His research interests include molecular medicine, microfluidic-based sensors, and bioprospecting. According to Google Scholar, Dr. Rimantas H-factor is 20, with resulting 5000 citations to his publications. article.

Creative Coding and Computing: A Course that Surprises Students and Teachers

On October 4, 2017, Dr. Hemin Latif, assistant professor and chair of the Information Technology Department at AUIS gave a guest lecture on Creative Coding and Computing to the participants of an Android bootcamp organized by Re: coded, a non-governmental organization in Erbil. The purpose of the lecture was to show how the Creative Coding and Computing course offered at AUIS differs from traditional programming courses in its design, delivery, and impact. During his speech, Dr. Latif shared the reasons why introductory programming courses fail to give a strong education in coding and computing to a generic audience. He mentioned how this course resolves major problems of traditional programming courses He mentioned how this course resolves those major problems of traditional programming courses; and the problems that cause most students to drop out from these courses. He also discussed creativity as a concept that is required for everyone, and especially for programmers. At the end of the lecture, many participants were inspired by the benefits that the course could bring. Mr. Allan Saleh, a participant, said “Dr. Hemin's speech reminded me of how creativity has a huge impact on what I want to achieve. Definitely a wake-up call to innovation.” Mr. Mustafa Alfaisal, another attendant, commented, “I hope every college includes this creative course in their curriculum.” Currently, AUIS is the only university in the region that offers this course and there is a great student demand for it. Hopefully, more unique courses like Creative Coding and Computing will be offered in AUIS that could become supportive for learning and developing the ideas about, and beyond, the main regular courses and curriculum. Article by IT Department Communications Intern, Mr. Aran Kamaran

AUIS Awards Certificates of Appreciation to DITAB Members

To strengthen the ties between educational requirements and market needs, AUIS continuously invites and incorporates inputs from industry experts and the private sector. A few years ago, the Information Technology program at AUIS established the first Department of Information Technology Advisory Board (DITAB). The role of DITAB is to contribute to the development and operation of the IT program by providing feedback on current activities and inputs for future initiatives of the program. Validating current activities and establishing new ones based on teaching guidelines, academic research, and industry demands ensure that the program is more beneficial to the students and to the society at large. “University programs, especially programs of fields that change very fast such as IT, need to be tied to industry needs and demands. AUIS practices this understanding through different activities on an institutional scale, but having an advisory board focused on one program has been more relevant and valuable to the program and the university”, said Dr. Hemin Latif, assistant professor of Information Technology who initially established and oversees DITAB. Dr. Atheer Matroud, chair of Information Technology Department stated, “DITAB is an essential component of our department. Throughout the years, DITAB helped us to understand the IT market, which guided us in making changes to our curriculum accordingly.” The first DITAB was composed of five industry experts from various companies in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, with IT and business expertise. The members included Dr. Faris Al-Salihi, CEO of Com Tech Communications, Mr. Jabbar Tahir, CEO of MidyaTech, Mr. Ahmed Rasheed, CTO of Gorannet, Ms. Zino Faruk, CEO of Rasan Pharmaceutical, and Ms. Bnar Salah, office manager at Genel Energy.   Recently, the term of the first DITAB members ended and the department is in the process of establishing the second term of the board. As a gesture of appreciation for the valuable contributions of the current members, AUIS presented certificates of appreciation to the members. The members reassured AUIS that they will continue their support to help AUIS create a better future for all.

AUIS Appoints New Dean of Faculty and Director of Academic Administration and Accreditation

Press Release December 07, 2016 - Sulaimani (KRG), Iraq - The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) today announced the appointment of Dr. Mazen Bou Khuzam as the new Dean of Faculty and Rachel Laribee Gresk as the Director of Academic Administration and Accreditation. The two positions were created after the Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Esther Mulnix, earlier in the year announced her decision to leave AUIS. Dr. Bou Khuzam, who will take up his position as Dean of Faculty on January 1, 2017, has served at AUIS since 2013 as Assistant Professor and Chair of the Mathematics and Natural Sciences Department. On accepting the new position, he said, “I am truly honored to be appointed as Dean of Faculty at AUIS. During the past three years, my main role as the Chair of the Mathematics and Natural Sciences Department was to focus on quality and excellence in teaching. I now look forward to working with the entire faculty to continue to promote educational excellence in the Kurdistan Region and in all of Iraq."   Dr. Bou Khuzam has taught at the university level for more than thirteen years in the Middle East. He holds a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Cambridge, where he was President of the Cambridge University Middle East Society.   Congratulating Dr. Bou Khuzam on his appointment, AUIS President Bruce Walker Ferguson noted with gratitude the important contributions made to the University by Dr. Mulnix, and his appreciation for the new Dean’s ongoing service to AUIS. “Dr. Mazen embodies much of what is best at AUIS: excellence in teaching and research, dedication to student learning, and productive collaboration with his colleagues. We have admired his work as department chair and look forward to his academic leadership as Dean of Faculty. "   AUIS has also appointed Rachel Laribee Gresk as the new Director of Academic Administration and Accreditation, who will report to the Dean of Faculty. “As a member of the AUIS community since 2009, I am honored to move into this new position. I look forward to continuing to work with our dedicated and hardworking team to make AUIS a premier institution for our students,” said Gresk, who formerly headed the AUIS Academic Preparatory Program where she led the highly acclaimed program to US accreditation, the only such program internationally accredited in Iraq. Mrs. Gresk is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.   A Selection Committee comprised of members of the AUIS Board of Trustees and senior management advised President Ferguson on the appointments.   About The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani Established in 2007 as a not-for-profit institution, AUIS is dedicated to providing a comprehensive liberal arts education for the benefit of young men and women from Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan, and the wider region. The University seeks to produce graduates of responsible character with the necessary knowledge and skills for professional and national leadership. The academic program, taught in the English language by international faculty, is designed to develop strength in critical thinking, the ability to communicate well, a strong work ethic, good citizenship and personal integrity. The growing student body at AUIS represents the region’s diverse ethnic and religious landscape as the University continues to be the destination of choice of more than 1,600 students. Reflecting Sulaimani’s location at an international crossroads, Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, Ezidis and Christians, live and study together in an open culture fostering diversity and tolerance. Academic freedom is a principle guaranteed in teaching, learning, and research in a manner identical to that found at regionally accredited colleges and universities in the United States. As a non-profit institution for the public good, the University and its assets are not owned by any individual or group of individuals. Visit the AUIS website and connect with us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest information and news. For English language and international media, please contact Mehr Zahra, Director of Communications, at mehr.zahra@auis.edu.krd or 964(0)772-339-9305. For Kurdish and Arabic media requests, please contact Bzhar Boskani, Media and Public Relations Adviser, at bzhar.ali@auis.edu.krd or 964(0)770-152-1893


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