A YORKSHIRE UNIVERSITY has hosted the signing of an accord declaring a commitment to protect and rebuild higher education caught up in armed conflicts following the deaths of hundreds of academics across the world.
There have been violent attacks on academic institutions world-wide – most recently in April when al-Shabab militants killed 147 people, mostly students, at Garissa University College in Kenya.
In Iraq, almost 500 academics have been assassinated and campuses looted, burned or destroyed in post-war violence.
And with Syria’s descent into civil war and the collapse of its educational system, the extent of the damage on the country’s academic institutions is still unknown.
Now an international event has taken place at York University to mark a united response.
The York Accord is designed to bring together key individuals who have played a major role in drawing attention to the importance of higher education in war-torn countries.
The University of York’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts, said: “I am proud that York is hosting the Accord. We have an enduring commitment to helping academics and institutions who are innocent victims of conflict.”
Dr Sansom Milton, a research fellow at York’s Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU), said much had already been done on rescuing scholars. He added: “This meeting has focused on rebuilding. This is long-term and has a forward looking element which has been missing in a lot of discussions around higher education and conflict.”