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Our Mission . . .

The Iraqi & Syrian Student Project (ISSP) is a grass-roots effort to help war-displaced Iraqi and Syrian students acquire an undergraduate education. ISSP seeks the help of US and Canadian colleges and universities along with a host of generous donors and volunteers in fulfilling our mission. 

January 2019

Dear Friends,

Here is an update on The Iraqi and Syrian Student Project (ISSP), but first, a quick telling of ISSP so far:

Over the five years of Iraqi Student Project (ISP) in Syria, more than 60 Iraqi students, most of them refugees who had found safety in Syria, completed the ISP program with us in Damascus. They were accepted for undergraduate study at universities in the US.  Most received scholarships or tuition waivers from their universities and much support from groups in the local community. The final group came to their US studies in 2012 and the two of us returned to New York City at that time. By then Syria was 16 months into the violence that continues now.

Few of the ISP students have returned to Iraq as the disorder there continues even now. Many of the ISP students have completed or are now completing graduate programs in the US. Others have joined their now-resettled families in the US, Canada or other countries. And there have been some ISP students marry and we have ISP grandchildren! 

We have continued the ISP  as ISSP beginning in 2015. Some of the Syrian students working with us have been refugees in Istanbul, Turkey while others have continued to live in Syria.  The ISSP mission is to prepare them for college study and to help them find admission and scholarships to universities.

Six Syrians came to begin studies in US universities in 2016, but in 2017 we began to work with Canadian universities because of the “travel ban” in the US for Syrians. That fall five Syrians began their undergraduate studies in Canada and one student came for a one-year program in film-making, now completed.

In September of 2018, three young women who had been living and working in Damascus, came to Canada with study permits: two are now beginning MA programs and a third student has begun undergraduate studies.   

In December 2018 we brought two Syrian students to Canadian universities from Istanbul. They have studied there in the space used by Ad Dar (“Home”) Center. Mazen Rabia, a Palestinian from Damascus and himself a refugee in Turkey, made it his task in Istanbul to create a space where young Syrians can meet each other, study with volunteer teachers, have a good meal, and themselves engage in helping others in the refugee community. Mazen was a dear friend of ours in Damascus. He graciously opened Ad Dar to the language study for ISSP candidates beginning in 2015. For more about Ad Dar Center see: addarcenter.org.

ISP became ISSP officially last year when we worked with the various state offices in New York to change the name and the purpose of our not-for-profit to include Syrian students. We continue to be a 501(c)3 with the IRS.  We have a Board of Directors with three members: Doug Hostetter, William Merriman, and Theresa Kubasak.  We have no salaried employees. Donations go toward the expenses of language testing in Istanbul and Damascus and the various fees of application and enrollment and eventually the travel of the students to Canada.  Once in their universities, some of the students continue to need ISSP financial support for varying expenses including meals and lodging.   Most are able to work part-time to pay some of their way.

Donations are welcome and so are questions and suggestions.

Theresa Kubasak and Gabe Huck


Reach us by postal mail or e-mail:

Iraqi & Syrian Student Project
Theresa Kubasak, Secretary
91½ Franklin Street

Harrisonburg VA 22801

Donations for the current needs of Syrian students in US and Canadian universities can be sent to:

Gabe Huck & Theresa Kubasak
91½ Franklin Street
Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Make checks payable to Iraqi & Syrian Student Project.

The Iraqi & Syrian Student Project is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Our tax ID number is EIN 26-1356230


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