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Program Information
The story behind the Iraqi Student Project
Theresa Kubasak,Gabe Huck
 Dale Lehman/WZRD  Contact Contributor
April 21, 2017, 9:25 p.m.

Author talk at the Evanston Public Library with introduction by Russell Johnson.

The authors recount how they ended up in Damascus, Syria preparing Iraqi refugee students for a free liberal arts education in the United States.

With little more than Gabe's social security income, a desire to make reparation for what the United Stated had done to Iraq, and Theresa's unbounded optimism and creative energy, they convinced 60 universities in the United States to offer tuition wavers and scholarships to the students who found their way to their shoestring project.

They talk about how they prepared the students to succeed in the US educational culture, the many embassy workers and various visiting scholars who volunteered as teachers and of the community support groups that were organized for each of the students once in the US and far from home.

They also speak of why they first traveled to Iraq, following the first Gulf War, and how in defiance of the State Departments ban, they carried candy, toys and medicine to Iraq. The program starts with Theresa's song "Going to Iraq".

The Iraqi Student Project saw almost all of it's 60 students graduate, with many going on to graduate school in the US and some returning to Iraq to work as teachers. Gabe and Theresa are now helping Syrian refugee students via their former Arabic teacher who found refuge in Istanbul, to get scholarships to universities in Canada after Trump banned Syrians from traveling to the US.
Evanston Public Library -Lesley Williams, adult services
St. Nickolas Church
Neighbors for Peace
Syrian Student Project
Theresa Kubasak
91 1/2 Franklin St.
Harrisonburg VA 22801

Few Americans have a clue as to the depth of culture and learning that we in the West are beneficiaries of that originated in the "fertile crescent" or that three religions lived in harmony prior to Western intervention. Theresa composed the song "Going to Iraq" during the years they lived in Evanston and volunteered with Voices in the Wilderness to travel to Iraq, to draw attention to the sanctions imposed by the US through the United Nations.

Lasting more than 9 years, the sanctions resulted in the deaths of 500,000 children who died from preventable disease and malnutrition because the US military intentionally destroyed most of Iraq's modern infrastructure. Then Secretary of State Madeline Albright said the deaths were "worth it" to achieve her policy goals.

You can hear former UN official Hans von Sponeck, "A Different Kind of War", and Joy Gordon, "Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions", speak about the brutality of those economic sanctions here:

Syrian Student Project
Theresa Kubasak
91 1/2 Franklin St.
Harrisonburg VA 22801

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