Bard College, where Becker is vice president for academic affairs, is one of many American colleges to take in students. Five have already arrived on campus and an additional 60 are expected to start in January.
Still, Becker said without a lasting policy solution, he worries what will happen when attention fades from Afghan refugees. “When we’re on to the next story,” he said, “what will happen to these people?”
I also shared with you how 148 Afghan students from the Asian University for Women
were airlifted to the U.S. after a harrowing escape from Kabul. When I checked in with Kamal Ahmad, the founder of the women’s college, he told me that all AUW students had been accepted on full scholarships to American colleges, including Brown, Cornell, and Arizona State. He estimated that more than $32 million had been committed in the form of scholarships and other support.
“The U.S. higher education community’s commitment to our students has been extraordinary and really uplifting,” Ahmad said.
Sepehra Azami was a leader of the students. When we first connected
, Azami was at a base in Spain, waiting for transit to the U.S. Last week when we messaged, she had just arrived at Cornell after spending three months at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin.
“I will start my new journey here very soon,” she said. “I am feeling overwhelmed and at the same time hoping for better things.”
AUW enrolls students from throughout Asia, many with limited English skills. English-language programs around the U.S. have organized to take in the 56 AUW students who need an English foundation year.
Scott Stevens, who directs the English Language Institute at the University of Delaware, spearheaded the effort; Delaware will enroll 15 of the students. It has taken time as students go through the resettlement process — getting medical exams and IDs, applying for Social Security numbers — but Stevens is excited to welcome his new students. By Christmas, he hopes.
Even as they wait to restart their studies, several of the students have offered English lessons to other refugees, Stevens said. “They’re living up to their reputation as leaders.”
I previously shared some resources
for how you can take action to aid refugee students and scholars, from Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Please check out groups like the Scholar Rescue Fund
, Scholars at Risk
, and organizations mentioned earlier in this newsletter — your help continues to be needed.
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