Higher Education in Post-Conflict Situations

UNESCO’s action in higher education in post-conflict situations aims at tackling the most urgent needs faced by Iraqi and Palestinian universities.Thanks to the support of the Qatar Foundation and The Saudi Committee For the Relief of Palestinian People, UNESCO implements emergency rehabilitation projects, fellowships programmes and longer-term academic solidarity initiatives for capacity building.Higher education issues are crucial for reconstruction, for long-term economic and social development as well as for peace building. Therefore, supporting higher education systems in post-conflict situations is such an important mission of UNESCO and the division of Higher Education.


Conflict situations, with their consequences: looting, isolation and increasing poverty have an obvious impact on all sectors, education included.

UNESCO has committed to support the renewal and reconstruction of the higher education systems in Iraq and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

UNESCO’s action in higher education in post-conflict situations aims first at tackling the most urgent needs faced by Iraqi and Palestinian universities.

In a second step, UNESCO will also encourage longer-term academic solidarity in order to support higher education in Iraq and the occupied Palestinian territory, by encouraging, international cooperation, capacity-building initiatives and the involvement of the Iraqi and Palestinian Diaspora.


The Qatar Foundation committed US$ 9, 8 million to UNESCO and the Saudi Committee for the Relief of the Palestinian People (SCFRPP) US$ 15,1 million.

These donations will be used respectiveley to implement programmes in the benefit of Iraqi higher education institiutions and Professors, as well as Palestinian universities and students in need.

Today, Iraqi academics are still suffering from the lack of equipment as well as learning and teaching materials but also from isolation and remoteness.

UNESCO, thanks to the Qatari funding, supported emergency rehabilitation in Iraq and is well placed to help academics renew ties with the international academic community and offer technical assistance in priority areas.

Strong financial barriers currently prevent Palestinian student with the required skills and motivation from attending higher education programs. These inequities in access to higher education in the Occupied Palestinian territory are reinforced by the conflict situation (increasing poverty and overwhelming unemployment). The programme funded by the Saudi Committee will provide direct financial support to 11 Palestinian universities and to Palestinian students in need who are enrolled in those universities and in leading post-secondary colleges. The Saudi grant will also be used to assist the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education in creating a student aid system.

For more information go to UNESCO Webpage on Education and Higher Education in Post-Conflict Situations.