Introduction

Please note that this website is under construction.  More materials will be added.  Note that no document provided on this website should be seen as reflecting any person's views aside from its author's.

The University of Kurdistan Hawler (UKH) is a new university, supported by the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq.  With a focus on the social sciences, as well as applied computing and information technology, the University's language of instruction is English.  In the three and a half years of its existence, the University has experienced significant growing pains.  The 2009–2010 school year, however, has witnessed "controversy" that has in the view of many risen to crisis proportions.  The purpose of this website is to document the problems the University is experiencing, and the controversies it is undergoing. 

Visitors of the website are invited to provide their feedback.  Please send to: ukh.truth@googlemail.com

Latest News

A Stream of Firings and Resignations

Throughout the 2010
2011 school year, there was a series of firings, forced resignations, and resignations in protest from the university.  For more information see:

  • An open letter, purportedly written by the students in the Applied Computing and Information Technology (ACIT) Department, together with first and second year students in the Access Program, was circulated at the university on Thursday, May 19, 2011 (the Access Program is a two-year college preparatory program in ESL, study skills, and general subjects).  The website has obtained a copy.  It can be viewed here or downloaded here.  The letter makes many allegations whose veracity this website cannot confirm.  The names of the authors of the letter have not been divulged, but it is clear that the views expressed in the letter reflect the attitudes of at least some of the students in the ACIT Department and the Access Program.  The enrollment in these two programs combined comprise more than half the total number of students at the university.  This website takes no responsibility for the allegations advanced in the letter, which ought to be investigated fairly and thoroughly.

Vice-Chancellor Baban's "Controversial" Record

On the University of Kurdistan Hawler official website there is an announcement of the hiring of Serwan Baban as the new Vice Chancellor (http://www.ukh.ac/media/index.php?section=section_5).  As one would expect, the announcement paints Baban's career in rosy tints.  But investigation into Baban's past shows that some of the assertions made on it are misleading.

Baban's Demotion in Australia

In January 2007, Serwan Baban moved from Trinidad to Australia, where he assumed the position of Head of the School of Environmental Studies at Southern Cross University.  As of October 2007, he had been demoted from that position and was serving as an ordinary academic staff member on probation. more detail

Baban in Trinidad

Baban moved from Coventry, England, to the University of the West Indies during September 2000 to become the Professor of Surveying and Land Information.  Later on, he assumed the position of Chairman, School for Graduate Studies and Research at the St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad.  How well did Baban get along in Trinidad?  One of his former colleagues, alerted to currents events at UKH revolving around Baban, wrote the following message to this website:

I read with interest your web page on the problems at UKH, and the Baban issue comes as no surprise to me. Prior to his move to Australia this man was at the University of the West Indies where he was also trouble. I was there at the time, and there was much relief when he left. (February 7, 2011)

At the urging of this website, the author wrote the following more detailed account: here.

The Dismantling of the Sociology Department


The American Sociological Association, in its April 2010 issue of its official newsletter, Footnotes, published an article about the problems at UKH, focusing especially on the problems of the Sociology and Applied Social Science Department. 

"Problems at the University of Kurdistan" (published version)

Uncut version

Dismissal of Daniel Wolk

The link's below give more information on Daniel Wolk's summary termination:

Dismissal of Daniel Wolk (narrative of events)

Article in Bedrxan newspaper (Kurdish)

Article in Hewal weekly newspaper  April 24, 2010 (Kurdish)

Second article in Hewal weekly newspaper  June 5, 2010 (Kurdish)

Daniel Wolk's Termination Notice


Finally, an e-mail from the Director of Human Resources makes clear how quickly Wolk was expected to exit.  Read here.  [Note that the e-mail was sent at about 5 pm or so (the time stamp on it is incorrect).]


The University of Kurdistan Academic Staff Association and its Demise

In the autumn of 2009, a number of academic staff came together with the intent of forming a University of Kurdistan Academic Staff Association (UKHASA).  After meeting a number of times, academic staff assembled and passed a Mission Statement and Terms of Reference.  Plans were made and dues were collected for the purpose of registering the UKHASA with the Ministry of the Interior of the Kurdistan Regional Government.  A lawyer was hired for the purpose and the bulk of the paperwork done.  However, shortly after the termination of Daniel Wolk, the leadership of the UKHASA received what they and other members of the association perceived as an intimidating letter from the legal counsel of the University, Govand Baban.  More detail and documentation.

The Exit of Chris Whitney

Chris Whitney is one of the most experienced and respected teachers of English as a Second Language and Writing Composition that the University has ever employed.  Upon receiving the perceived threatening letter of April 6 from Govand Baban, the legal counsel of the university, he sent an e-mail critical of the letter.  As a result of this and related events, he felt forced to leave UKH. more detail

Opinion Pieces

Xalid Mistefa, "Çend pêşniyazêk bo firyakewtinī Zankoī Kurdistan Hewlêr [Some Recommendations to Rescue the University of Kurdistan-Hawler]," Hewlati #737 (June 5, 2011), p. 16 [in Kurdish].

Chris Whitney, "A Culture of Maintenance."  Hawler Tribune (April 4, 2010).

Student Views

Students at the university have from time to time expressed their views forcefully, but only a small sample of their work to "get the word out" has become available to this website.  See here.  We welcome more materials from UKH students.