CUE Establishment & History

The social, political, and fundamental needs for which the CUE was founded .

The Catholic University in Erbil was founded at a stage in which both Iraq and the Kurdistan Region (KR) went through harsh conditions in terms of terrorism and persecution brought about by some terrorist groups and organizations. These conditions largely impacted the safety and lifestyle of the local people as they were forced out of their homeland, which is where some of the earliest civilizations has been born. This forced migration, especially of the young population, may lead to the disappearance of the indigenous people of this ancient country.

The establishment of the University will help the remaining members of the community through the provision of job opportunities, reaching out to the internally displaced people, and encouraging them, by enhancing their competencies and skills. The Catholic University in Erbil seeks to provide opportunities for all people but most specifically the marginalized, for CUE believes that every human person has the right to education.

Since the late eighties, Iraq has undergone a sustained period of violent and dramatic upheaval in its society. Amid this upheaval, the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil, located in Ankawa (a predominantly Christian district of Erbil), is one organization that, with the help of partnerships from both nonprofit and non-governmental organizations and international government aid donors, has succeeded in building up while others destroy.

From the first moments that ISIS rose to power, the Archdiocese provided both emergency and long-term care to displaced populations—not only Christians but also Yazidis and others. The efforts conducted to alleviate the suffering of the IDPs included temporary and permanent shelter, education, work programs, psychological counseling, food support, medicine, and more.

Among the displaced were young people who could not continue their studies. To meet this need, the Archdiocese founded CUE in December 2015, which has been a centerpiece of all emergency programs of the Archdiocese.

Since its establishment, CUE has earned accreditation from the Ministries of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region and has earned a reputation as a vibrant and forward-looking private university. The vision of CUE is embodied in its slogan, to make “learners today…leaders tomorrow.” While the institution remains a young effort by the standards of a region that measures its history in millennia, it strives to attain the best results in evolving academic and pedagogical traditions while at the same time utilizing modern technology to expand its student body and the opportunities available to it.

CUE is dedicated to forming the next generation of leaders who are equipped with the required training and competencies to serve their people and the international community at large for the common good and in service of the dignity of the human person, with a special dedication to those who are marginalized. The Catholic University in Erbil views learning as a humane and social activity rather than a competition. Through the development of inquiring, critical minds, CUE works with individuals to ensure each person reaches their fullest potential, finds rewarding, fulfilling employment, or continues in the pursuit of further study.

The CUE was founded in December 2015 by His Grace Bishop Bashar Warda, bishop of the Chaldean Catholic Diocese of Erbil in District 189, Ankawa, Erbil, Kurdistan Region-Iraq.

Its foundation stone was laid on 20 October 2012. The campus of the university has an area of 30,000 square meters of land. The Italian Episcopal Conference offered 2.3 million euros for the project. The Catholic University of the Holy Spirit in Lebanon was contacted for help and guidance.

The CUE is a non-profit higher education and scientific research academic institution that provides recognized degrees in arts and sciences. It welcomes students coming from various cultures, faiths, and backgrounds to join its study programmes in an environment of tolerance and academic excellence where the quality and the values of human dignity and justice are promoted. It is a community-based open academic institution where higher education tradition is maintained. It is dedicated to forming the next generation of leaders who ae equipped with the required training and competence to serve their community in Kurdistan Region, Iraq, and the international community at large in line with serving the common good and maintain the dignity of the human person.

As a member of the worldwide community of catholic universities, the CUE will be able to introduce its students to some of the most renowned scholars and professors in the world who will be regularly present to deliver lectures and teach classes on the CUE Campus.

The CUE students will also have the opportunity to be in touch with our partner universities in Australia, USA, and Europe and virtually participate in their various teaching and learning programmes.