By SAMYA KULLAB, Associated Press
BAGHDAD (AP) — From afar, the sprawling complex of the newly inaugurated American University in Baghdad appears like a floating mirage.
Encircled by blue waters of a man-made lake, former Saddam Hussein-era palaces have been converted to university departments promising a U.S.-style education to meet the needs of Iraq’s growing youth.
Higher education has lagged in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam. Government officials maintain that the American University in Baghdad, which opened this week, is critical to shoring up the country’s flailing state of higher education.
The campus is a sight rarely seen in Baghdad’s urban sprawl: Ducks float by peacefully as a handful of students, backpacks slung over their shoulders, head to class. Glossy new buses take others across a winding road.
“I feel more like a mayor of a big city than a university president,” said AUIB President Michael Mulnix in an interview with The…
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