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First Catholic University opens in Iraq

Erbil, Brussels, December 15th, 2015 (ICN/SIGNIS). Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda, the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Erbil, northern Iraq, and Mgr Nunzio Galantino, secretary general of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI), took part in the official opening of the Catholic University of Erbil on 8 December.

The Italian Bishops’ Conference has supported the University by donating 2.3 million Euros for the project. The new University’s programmes will include oriental studies, information technology, languages and economics. Some 96 courses will be available in Biblical and theological studies. Plans are in the works for a faculty of law and international relations.

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Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda

Today, more than 1200 students from both sexes aged between 17-18 face an unknown future, as there are not sufficient places for them in the universities of Kurdistan Region (KR). Besides, it is impossible for them to join the universities in Mosul nor do they have an opportunity for higher education after graduation from high school for the present and coming years.

Archbishop Warda said: "Our beloved Christian community has so many reasons to leave Iraq today. This is why this university is a strong motive to stay. We all have a great responsibility to give them reasons to stay. The university is a message to those who want us thrown out of the circle of history. It means we are staying because we are deeply rooted in this soil for thousands of years."

He added: "The University will be open to everyone; I hope that all the students - Christians, Muslims, Yazidis - will be able to breathe the Catholic faith and its fundamental values, we expect to receive up to 300 students each year". Mgr Galantino said: "The University will lay the foundation of a new history and a promising future."

The University was built on a three square kilometres piece of land provided by the Chaldean Catholic Church.


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