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Qatar donates $15 million for UNESCO fund

Qatar donates $15 million for UNESCO fund to rehabilitate Iraqi universities

The first lady of Qatar and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have announced the launching of an initiative to rebuild Iraq's university system.

In a press statement released in the Qatari capital Doha and in New York, UNESCO said Sheikha Mozah Bin Nasser Al Missned, the Qatari first lady and a UNESCO Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education, reported that Qatar had donated the first $15 million to a new International Fund for Higher Education in Iraq, which will be administered by the UN agency.

UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, who attended the ceremony today in Doha, said, "I call on all those in a position to help - be they governments, international bodies or private foundations - to join us in this initiative on behalf of Iraqi universities. In so doing, they would be investing not only in the future of the Iraqi people but also in the prospects for lasting peace and prosperity throughout the region."

The UNESCO press statement said, "After so many years of economic hardship, the impact of war-related damage on Iraqi universities has been devastating. While levels of damage vary widely across the country, enormous investment will be required to serve the needs of some 300,000 students from Iraq's 20 universities and 47 technical colleges and institutes.

"The total cost of reconstruction and rehabilitation of higher education facilities is expected to top $2 billion," UNESCO said.

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