Losing Syria’s Youngest Generation

The Education Crisis Facing Syrian Refugees in Jordan

by Reva Dhingra | published March 2, 2016

Hasan bounces in his chair, pencil tapping against the table as he bends over the first page of a math exam. He hesitates, before stretching his hand frantically into the air as he waits for help from the program facilitator busy with one of the handful of other boys scattered across the classroom. Hasan is a student at one of over 90 Non-Formal Education Centers opened in Jordan by the education NGO Questscope in partnership with the Jordanian Ministry of Education, funded by a grant from UNICEF. The program, aimed at providing tenth-grade equivalency certificates for refugee and Jordanian children who have spent years without formal schooling, has witnessed a dramatic expansion since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER113

Most readers are only too familiar with the litany of harassments endured by Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, from restrictions on personal freedoms to attacks on institutions and confiscation of land. Nonetheless, for the purposes of building campaigns to support Palestinian rights, and for a dearer understanding of the workings of the occupation, it is worth focusing on particular violations that are significant both for the victims and for that much-evoked phantasm, “world public opinion.”

Title VI and Middle East Studies: What You Should Know

by Bekah Wolf | published November 14, 2014 - 5:04pm

In the past few years, pro-Israel groups have mounted an escalating and concerted effort to set the contours of scholarly debate about Israel on American campuses. This fall, two such organizations, the AMCHA Initiative and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, are lobbying Congress and the Department of Education to punish Middle East studies centers that present alternatives to staunchly pro-Israel viewpoints. The lobbying campaign demands that the Education Department stop federal funding to these centers under Title VI of the Higher Education Act or engage in intrusive oversight of the departments to assure the prevalence of viewpoints more sympathetic to Israeli government policies. The Higher Education Act is up for Congressional reauthorization this year.

Educational Aftershocks for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

by Sarah E. Parkinson | published September 7, 2014 - 12:57pm

More than 50 percent of Syrian refugees living in Lebanon are 17 or younger. Back home the great majority of them were in school. But youth who try to continue their education in Lebanon face social, economic and bureaucratic obstacles. The cost can be so steep that their parents may opt to keep them at home. There is a lengthy wait list to attend Lebanese public schools, which are soliciting outside donations to pay teachers and other staff for a second shift made up of refugee children.

The Sociologist Has Left the Building

by Kevan Harris
published in MER270

“Here in Iran, Professor Wallerstein, you are a dangerous man.” So an adviser of President Hassan Rouhani counseled the 83-year old sociologist, and he was correct. It was March, and Immanuel Wallerstein had just arrived for a three-city lecture tour. It was as if the Islamic Republic had granted a visa to Elvis Presley.

China's Strategic Middle Eastern Languages

by Haiyun Ma , I-wei Jennifer Chang
published in MER270

Though the People’s Republic of China has extensive commercial ties in the Middle East, its three strategic partners in the region are Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey. It is not surprising, therefore, that the major Middle Eastern language programs in China today are Arabic, Persian and Turkish. The growth of Middle Eastern language and area studies in China has tracked with the changes in the political ties of the People’s Republic to the region.

Muslim Activist Encounters in Meiji Japan

by Shuang Wen
published in MER270

As one of the political, commercial and intellectual centers of Asia, Japan at the turn of the twentieth century was an important arena for the intersection of ideas about modernism, nationalism and anti-colonial politics. Though Cairo, Istanbul and Mecca had long been the capitals of scholarship and cross-cultural interaction in the Islamic world, Meiji-era Japan was a site of key encounters between Muslims from China, South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. Drawn together by a common interest in Islamic revival and nation building that transcended linguistic and cultural differences, these activists established various Muslim organizations in Japan and saw Islam as a way to unify Asian peoples.

The Battle Over Higher Education in Iran

by Mohammad Ali Kadivar | published February 20, 2014

The educated middle class that played an influential role in electing Hassan Rouhani to the Iranian presidency in June 2013 is anxious to see his promises of “prudence and hope” fulfilled. One area that Rouhani’s administration is expected to reform is higher education, which was targeted for political and intellectual purges under the hardline conservative administrations of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Memories of a Sentimental Education

by Michael Gilsenan
published in MER130

I was supposed to set an example. Voluntary Service Overseas was in its second year in 1959 and two of us were here on a pound a week plus keep, to be examples. Nineteen-year-old examples. A year before university, you’ll have a wonderful experience. It was, too.

The students in Form 2A were not what I expected. To start with, half of them were my age or older, one or two were married and had children back in the protectorates, some were even taller than I -- six feet, two inches from Eastbourne, Sussex. From Eastbourne Grammar School to Aden College.

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Breaking Point

The Crisis of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

by Omar S. Dahi | published September 25, 2013

One of the many plot lines lost in the summertime discussions of a US strike on Syria is the pace of refugee movement out of the country. As it stands, the refugee crisis is overwhelming and likely to stay that way. Another external military intervention would further accelerate the mass flight and exacerbate what is already a humanitarian emergency.