Academic relations between the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg and Iraqi universities were established in the 1960s and 70s but interrupted due to the political events in Iraq after the 1980s. In February 2004, a DAAD sponsored Winter School for Iraqi Scientists was organized in Erlangen with 14 attendants from the universities of Baghdad, Mustansiriya (Baghdad) and Salahaddin (Erbil) including their presidents. During this event, on February 23, 2004, a “Memorandum of Understanding” was signed between the FAU and these universities which provided for a number of measures bringing together Iraqi and German social scientists in order to enable them to discuss common interests and the potential of future cooperation in the fields of teaching, research and academic exchange. In the following years, the FAU hosted several Iraqi visiting professors, postdoctoral research associates and doctoral students according to the provisions of these agreements.

Pictures from the inauguration ceremony of the CIS.

In 2009, an agreement between Prof. Dr. Mohammed A. Atiya, Head of the Research & Development Directorate at the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MoHESR) and Prof. Dr. Karl-Dieter Grüske, President of the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, was signed in order to stipulate training or research stays in Erlangen of academics from all Iraqi universities. The Higher Education Faculty & Staff Training Program  is one of these programs and is designed to support faculty members and administrators of Iraqi universities in improving their English and intercultural communication and presentation skills, in integrating modern technologies in their teaching and research practices, and in developing their managerial competencies. These courses run over four weeks and each course consists of different thematic modules according to the special needs of the attendants.

Also 2009, a Strategic Academic Partnership was agreed between the DAAD and the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research. This partnership created two kinds of measures designed to strengthen the Iraqi university system through German-Iraqi academic exchange and cooperation: First, scholarship programs for Iraqi master and doctoral students at German universities and second, special field cooperation projects among German and Iraqi universities. One of the five projects of this kind, the Baghdad-Erbil-Erlangen-Project (BEEP) was entrusted to the FAU and successfully run from 2009 to 2014. Since 2015 a new DAAD sponsored project – Iraqi-German Academic Cooperation Network (IG-CON) – is being implemented.

The Center for Iraq Studies (CIS) was inaugurated on December 9, 2009 in Erlangen in order to provide the administrative capacities and technical facilities necessary to accomplish the goals of the academic exchange and cooperation projects of the FAU with Iraqi universities. The Center is equipped with the human resources and infrastructure necessary to initiate and manage joint research projects between German and Iraqi academics. It provides for the development of new research proposals, the acquisition of financing from third-party funding bodies and the organization of symposia, workshops and conferences. The Center also serves as a host institution and meeting place for academics from Iraqi and German universities and last but not least functions as an initial point of contact and source of advice for businesses, associations and media organizations from both countries.

Media reports on the Winter School for Iraqi Scientists, 2004:

Das Ende von 15 Jahren Isolation. Deutsche und irakische Universitäten beginnen KooperationNürnberger Zeitung, 17.02.2004Download as PDF

Iraker beleben die Kontakte. Wissenschaftler wollen in Erlangen Verlorenes aufholenFränkischer Tag, 18.02.2004Download as PDF

Irak-Hilfe auf akademischem Weg. Professoren aus Bagdad und Erbil zu Besuch an der Würzburger Universität – Mainpost, 26.02.2004 – Download as PDF

Wissenschaft braucht Wiederaufbau. Irakische Universitätspräsidenten erbitten dringend deutsche UnterstützungErlanger Nachrichten, 24.02.2004Download as PDF.

Media reports on the inauguration of the CIS, 2009:

Brücken nach Baghdad. Ein Programm fördert den akademischen Wiederaufbau im Irak – Süddeutsche Zeitung, 15.02.2010Download as PDF

Brücken bauen nach Baghdad – Bayern 2, 19.02.2010 Download as PDF | Download as MP3

Brücken bauen für die Wissenschaft – Erlanger Nachrichten, 06.03.2010 Download as PDF

Ein helles Licht am Ende einer dunklen Zeit – Mediterranes. Das EMA-Magazin, 1/2010, June 2010 Download as PDF

Zentrum für Irakstudien öffnet Pforten – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft Online (FAU), 08.12.2009 Download as PDF

Vorreiter bei der Kooperation mit dem Iraq. Vereinbarung über Stipendienprogramm und Hochschulpartnerschaften – Uni Kurier Aktuell (FAU), Nr.79, January 2010, p.21 Download as PDF

Delegation irakischer Universitäten besucht die Ghorfa – SOUQ, das Ghorfa-Wirtschaftsmagazin, January 2010, p.18/19 Download as PDF

Hochschule: Deutsch-irakische Grundlagenforschung – WP.I Wirtschaftsplattform Irak, 10.05.2010 Download as PDF

Ein Jahr Erlangen, ein Jahr Erbil – Deutschlandfunk, 01.12.2010 Download as PDF | Download as MP3

We want to be a bridge – Online article on tabadul.de, May 2010Download as PDF