Dhi Qar University English Studies

Book Wish Foundation is excited to join a partnership delivering educational aid to prepare future leaders of reconstruction efforts in Iraq. Spearheaded by the Michael Scott Mater Foundation, the project focuses on Dhi Qar University in Nasiriyah. Book Wish will provide English as a Second Language material to Dhi Qar, building on our experience in Chad and our sponsorship from leading publisher Oxford University Press. This will fill a longstanding void in English instruction at the University, and help it maximize the value of modern engineering textbooks donated by Oregon State University's School of Engineering.

Jinnie Lee, Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad explains that: "Thirty years of academic isolation has left Iraqi English teaching professionals starved for contact and resources. The level of English language ability is generally dismal. Lack of exposure to native speakers leaves Iraqis prone to reinforcing elementary errors. Teachers express unbounded enthusiasm and commitment to resurrecting English language learning."

Oxford ESL material for Dhi Qar UniversityThanks to a generous discount from Oxford, we were able to send a preliminary group of English materials to Iraq in mid-October, 2008, sufficient to serve as a basis for assessment of Dhi Qar's remaining ESL needs. This shipment of 220 books and CDs included:

  • a complete English course from its world-renowned American Headway series
  • Oxford English for Electrical and Mechanical Engineering
  • Oxford English for Informational Technology
  • two types of English dictionaries for Arabic-speaking learners of English (Picture and Wordpower)
  • Oxford Business English Dictionary

Together with OSU's engineering textbooks, our ESL material will be flown from Joint Base Balad to Nasiriyah on October 31 November 11, and transferred to Dhi Qar University officials by the Mater Foundation. Once the faculty and students have had time to familiarize themselves with these items, we will compile a Wish List of their remaining English needs. You can show your support even now, though, by making a donation earmarked for Dhi Qar University.

In addition to helping students read the engineering textbooks, which contain 21st century knowledge critical to the reconstruction of Iraq, improving Dhi Qar's English studies will better prepare its students for a possible exchange program with Oregon State University. A delegation led by Dhi Qar's Chancellor Dr. Ali Ismael will visit OSU's President Ed Ray in early 2009 to discuss their future cooperation. We are honored to be able to assist with such an important academic exchange.

Please help spread the word about this new project to ESL teachers, engineers, and all those generally concerned with Iraqi-American relations. This is an opportunity to encourage stability through education.