ISOW is a student-led and student-funded humanitarian initiative at Wilfrid Laurier University. ISOW seeks to meaningfully respond to the devastating impacts of war by providing full scholarships to students from conflict areas. We also seek to educate Laurier students about the impacts of international conflicts by promoting intercultural learning and globally-engaged citizenship.
Our vision is to foster genuine intercultural learning and effective global citizenship by bringing together minds from around the world.
Our mission is to promote active student engagement through the study of the human realities of international conflict today as well as to provide scholarships to international students affected by conflict.
THE DIGNITY OF OUR INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARS AND MAKE IT OUR PRIORITY TO SUPPORT THEM IN THEIR PERSONAL AND ACADEMIC PURSUITS.
THE STUDY OF THE IMPACT OF INTERNATIONAL CONFLICT WITHOUT PROMOTING A POLITICAL AGENDA.
INTERNATIONAL FRIENDSHIPS AND INTERCULTURAL UNDERSTANDING.
EFFECTIVE, COLLABORATIVE, AND CULTURALLY-SENSITIVE APPROACHES TO LEADERSHIP AMONG OUR MANAGEMENT TEAM MEMBERS.
ORGANIZATIONAL TRANSPARENCY AND FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY TO LAURIER STUDENTS AND THE GREATER LAURIER COMMUNITY.
THE MUTUAL LEARNING THAT RESULTS FROM SHARED EXPERIENCES WITHIN AND BEYOND THE UNIVERSITY.
INTEGRITY IN OUR PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS WITH WHICH WE SHARE A COMMON VISION.
ISOW’s story began in the winter months of 2013 in a small first-year seminar at Wilfrid Laurier University, where students were finishing up their final projects that were designed to engage students on of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One of these proposals included having Laurier partner with the Daughters for Life Foundation, an organization that works to give young women affected by conflict in the Middle East a university education abroad.
Within a few months, several students who had been part of the original seminar came together with others to develop the project into a student club that could facilitate the proposed partnership. Through countless meetings, student campaigning, and recruitment of additional members, the student club was able to realize its vision through two key developments in early 2015: an agreement with Daughters for Life to sponsor two young women starting in September 2015; and undergraduate and graduate student levies which were established to provide the financial support for these incoming Scholars as well as to support more students in the future.
Following the success of the agreement with the Daughters for Life Foundation in January 2015, ISOW management team members pursued a partnership agreement with Jusoor Syria, a Non Governmental Organization that works to provide education to Syrian youth. In April of 2016, a partnership between Wilfrid Laurier University and Jusoor was established to sponsor four additional Syrian students to come to Laurier on full scholarships, all of whom began their studies in September of 2016.
Following U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban of Syrians (among others) to the United States, Jusoor approached ISOW with six additional students they hoped to place at a university outside the U.S. These students arrived in the Fall of 2017, and in addition to the arrival of six new students, the first ISOW Scholar graduated from her Master of Arts program in Cultural Analysis and Social Theory (CAST).
In 2018, ISOW and Jusoor supported three additional students who arrived in the fall. ISOW continues to seek partnerships with new organizations and to sponsor students from other parts of the world affected by violent conflict.
In Fall 2019, ISOW will welcome three additional students; one from Jusoor, one from Daughter’s For Life and one from ISOW’s one-time partnership with the Iraqi Syrian Student Project (ISSP). The partnership with ISSP means that ISOW will have its first male scholar. ISOW continues to seek partnerships with new organizations and hopes to sponsor students from Yemen and Myanmar in the future.
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