Tahir Al-Bakaa, the former Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Iraq, found his way to Suffolk University through the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund.
He now is a Visiting Scholar in Suffolk’s College of Arts & Sciences.
The Scholar Rescue Fund, launched in 2002, provides temporary fellowships for scholars and academics who are threatened in their home countries, allowing them to visit an institution where they may safely continue their teaching or research activities.
Al-Bakaa, a historian, was the former president of Al Mustansiriya University in Iraq. He also served in Iraq’s National Assembly and Constitution Writing Committee.
Following four attempts on his life, Al-Bakaa came to the United States in October 2005 through the Scholars at Risk program, a national network that defends the human rights of persecuted scholars worldwide by arranging temporary positions for them in U.S. universities and colleges. He was at Harvard University for a year before arriving at Suffolk in August 2006.
Al-Bakaa, whose areas of expertise include Iranian history, and the history of Palestine, is the author of six books and 58 research papers. He is working on a new book that focuses on the current situation in Iraq. At Suffolk, he sometimes lectures and will participate in Suffolk’s 2007 Academic Conference.
He said that as he learns more about English and the American culture, he wants “to change the culture between the American people and the Iraqi people so everyone can come together.”