Noam Chomksy opens Rojava University Freedom Lectures

Noam Chomksy opens Rojava University Freedom Lectures


Today linguist Noam Chomsky will inaugurate the the Rojava Freedom lecture series at the Rojava University in Qamishlo.

Today at 4 pm GMT (5 pm in Central Europe and 6pm in Rojava) linguist Noam Chomsky will inaugurate the the Rojava Freedom lecture series at the Rojava University in Qamishlo.

The event will be broadcast online on the University’s facebook page  and YouTube channel.

We spoke to Gulistan Sido, Head of International Relations at the University of Rojava, about this lecture as well as the work of the university, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Sido is originally from Afrin, and graduated with a Master in Modern French Letters from the University of Sorbonne.

“The idea of organizing the conference in which the linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky is going to give a seminar, – Sido said – was proposed by initiative of the Higher Institute of Social Sciences. This is an annual conference, or seminar but we also plan to hold several conferences throughout the year, inviting on each occasion a specialist in different social aspects to contribute with their knowledge to our university.”

This event, as most initiatives around the world, will be held online because of the coronavirus pandemic. Sido underlines that the pandemic has affected North and East Syria like the rest of the world. “In addition to the many problems caused around the world by this pandemic, however, – she underlined – we have to add the fact that we live in a war zone, and this makes things even more difficult. Unfortunately, we were forced to close our doors to students during lockdown and this meant not just trying to reorganise ourselves to be able to provide education online. It also meant that many students had to return to their homes, and thus were exposed to new dangers. I am thinking for example of the students from Afrin who had to return to the camps in Shehba where their family live. The roads from here to Shehba are very dangerous, they are often controlled or taken over by jihadists associated to the Turkish state. So, even going home is something very dangerous.”

As to education online, Sido said that the university was “not prepared to switch to online education altogether. However, we managed to provide classes online.” Sido also underlined that there is a problem with water. “Turkish-linked mercenary groups, especially after the occupation of Serekaniye in October 2019, are targeting the water supplies and this mean that people face shortage of water. And this affects our university and our students too.”

International collaboration

The University of Rojava has been promoting collaborations with universities around the world since its establishment, in 2016.

Protocols have been signed with the German university of Emden-Leer as well as the California’s Institute of Integral Studies and the University of Parma in Italy.

“Last semester – said Sido – we developed a co-seminars project between the Social Sciences Department of Emden-Leer and the Jineoloji Department of our university on the issues of gender violence and violence against women and strategies to counter this violence.”

The students, said Sido, “received many messages from other students around the world and are often invited to conferences about various issues. Building and strengthening international relations is very important for us.”

The University of Rojava

The University of Rojava was founded in Qamişlo in 2016, in the midst of the war, conflict, and extraordinary situation in Syria, in particular in Rojava/North and East of Syria. Today some 1,500 students are receiving education as the university opened several departments.

The University is an outcome of the Rojava Revolution. The University of Rojava offered an opportunity to students who had to suspend their education programs due to the conflict in Syria and geographical disconnection. The forced migration as a result of this conflict caused difficulties in finding professional and scientific staff. The University of Rojava became a solution to overcome these difficulties and support the students to maintain their education programs.

The foundation process of the University of Rojava is ongoing as it takes the universal experiences in higher education as a model, on one hand, and it adopts the historical and social values, and philosophy of Mesopotamia, on the other. The University of Rojava acknowledges and uses modern techniques in scientific and academic works, and believes that the concept of education in the Middle East should be redefined. The education model that imposes authoritarianism on the society will not help people who are aware of their ability and capacity, able to understand and interpret developments, and participate in creating. On the contrary, such authoritarian models create a memorizing mind, dogmatic beliefs and people who are far from creation and creativity. Such education models are one of the essential reasons behind the conflicts in the Middle East.

Departments and Faculties

The Petro-Chemistry Faculty was founded in 2016. The faculty building and its dormitory are located in Rimêlan. The duration of the program at this faculty is five years.

The Faculty of Agriculture was founded in 2016 and its building is in Qamişlo. The duration of the program at this faculty is five years.

The Faculty of Educational Sciences was founded in 2016 and it includes Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology, Geography, History, and Primary School Teaching. The faculty building is in Qamişlo and the duration of each program at this faculty is four years.

Faculty of Ecological Engineering and Civil Engineering was founded in 2019. The faculty building is in Hesekê. The duration of the Ecological Engineering program is five years while of the Civil Engineering program (as an institution) is two years.

The Faculty of Language and Social Sciences. Kurdish Language and Literature, Fine Arts and Jineolojî departments were founded in 2016 and 2017 while the English Translation department was founded in 2019. The duration of the Kurdish Language and Literatur and Fine Arts programs are four years while Jineolojî and English Translation programs are two years.

The Advanced Mechatronic Institution was founded in 2019 in Qamişlo and the duration of the program is three years.

The Financial and Administrative Institution was founded in 2018 in Qamişlo. The duration of the program two years.

Source: ANF

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