Gates To Help Preserve Iraq’s Intellectual Legacy

There can’t be anything much more important, or more ambitious, than preserving the intellectual legacy of an entire country. This is what Bill Gates is seeking to do with a programme to assist displaced Iraqi scholars.

Gates’ charitable foundation is putting $5m into fellowships at universities outside Iraq to allow Iraqi academics to continue their work at these institutions. So far, 17 Iraqi scholars have been helped by the Gates foundation. Iraqi intellectuals which have been forced to flee the country have been living in poverty in neighbouring countries doing menial work, because they can’t get academic work. Gates’ money will help scholars who are already abroad, and will help fund academic posts abroad for university teachers who want to leave the country. Gates’ initiative is wise because of the likelihood of Iraq disintegrating following the withdrawal of US troops. Bloody purges such as followed the British withdrawal from India, or the Nazi purges of Jewish intellectuals are thought possible.

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