International

New Iraqi Education Minister Named

By Mary Ann Zehr — June 09, 2004 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A biochemist who earned his doctorate in the United States was named Iraq’s interim minister of education last week. He replaces a former World Health Organization official who had served in the position since last September.

Sami Al-Mudhaffar, 64, a longtime professor of biochemistry at the University of Baghdad, assumed his new job June 1 as the full membership of the country’s new interim government was announced. He had been the deputy minister of education since April.

On that same day last week, Dr. Ala’din Alwan, the medical doctor who had been the minister of education, was named Iraq’s interim minister of health.

“I’m trying to continue the same policy of the minister, Dr. Alwan,” Mr. Al-Mudhaffar said in a phone interview last week from Baghdad. “I’m trying to speed up various things he has already managed.”

Mr. Al-Mudhaffer said his first priority was to finish the implementation of end-of- year exams.

“We do have to organize the skeleton of the ministry,” he added. “We do have a problem in evaluation of the staff, particularly those high-ranking managers of the ministry.”

Politics and Academe

Mr. Al-Mudhaffer was chosen through a process facilitated by Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations’ special adviser on Iraq, in consultation with Iraqis and the Coalition Provisional Authority, according to a press release from the authority. As with the other leaders appointed last week, Mr. Al-Mudhaffar is expected to stay in his post until elections are held in Iraq in December or January.

Pam Riley, the senior education consultant for the provisional authority, which assumed control following the U.S.-led ouster of Saddam Hussein’s regime last year, said she believes Mr. Al-Mudhaffer will be a strong leader.

Mr. Al-Mudhaffer was born in Basra, Iraq, and earned a bachelor’s degree in science with honors from the University of Baghdad in 1960. Six years later, he earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va., and then returned to Iraq. He taught at the University of Basra from 1967 to 1973 and then at the University of Baghdad from 1973 until two months ago.

The faculty elected Mr. Al-Mudhaffer president of the university in May 2003. But Ziad Abdel Razzaq Aswad, then Iraq’s minister of higher education, fired Mr. Al-Mudhaffer in September, citing his failure to get rid of faculty members who had been members of Mr. Hussein’s Baath Party.

Mr. Al-Mudhaffer chuckled over the telephone last week about his firing and said that faculty members and students had demonstrated in support of him. He said the policy barring former Baathists from holding university jobs wasn’t clear at the time.

In addition, he said, “I’m an independent man. I don’t believe in having politics in the university. I believe in the university as an independent establishment, making decisions without any effect of the ministry.”

He added that he hoped the work of the Education Ministry would be free of “the effect of any politics.”

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the June 09, 2004 edition of Education Week as New Iraqi Education Minister Named

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Data Webinar
Using Integrated Analytics To Uncover Student Needs
Overwhelmed by data? Learn how an integrated approach to data analytics can help.

Content provided by Instructure
School & District Management Live Online Discussion Principal Overload: How to Manage Anxiety, Stress, and Tough Decisions
According to recent surveys, more than 40 percent of principals are considering leaving their jobs. With the pandemic, running a school building has become even more complicated, and principals' workloads continue to grow. f we

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

International Global Test Finds Digital Divide Reflected in Math, Science Scores
New data from the 2019 Trends in International Math and Science Study show teachers and students lack digital access and support.
3 min read
Image of data.
iStock/Getty
International Pre-COVID Learning Inequities Were Already Large Around the World
A new international benchmarking highlights gaps in training for digital learning and other supports that could deepen the challenge for low-income schools during the pandemic.
4 min read
International Part of Global Trend, 1 in 3 U.S. High Schoolers Felt Disconnected From School Before Pandemic
UNESCO's annual report on global education progress finds countries need to make more effort to include marginalized students, particularly in the United States.
4 min read
International How Schools in Other Countries Have Reopened
Ideas from Australia, Denmark, and Taiwan can help American district and school leaders as they shape their reopening plans.
11 min read
Students at the Taipei American School in Taipei, Taiwan, perform The Little Mermaid in full costume and masks.
Students at the Taipei American School in Taipei, Taiwan, perform The Little Mermaid in full costume and masks.
Photo courtesy of Dustin Rhoades/Taipei American School