Amal Alachkar (center) discussing the current Syrian Refugee Crisis

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A Syrian scholar said education is the key to rebuilding Syria and ending its humanitarian crisis.

Amal Alachkar, who spoke at the inaugural Think Global series at the Brown-Lupton University Union on Monday, said you need educated people in order to build a state.

“You need people who have been educated properly to build an environment of tolerance,” Alachkar said.

She said there are at least 4 million Syrian children that are not receiving an education.

“That is what we need in Syria, after all this conflict,” Alachkar said. “Without this educated generation, we can’t rebuild this country.”

Alachkar also said children without education are more susceptible to being recruited by extremists groups.

“This is why I believe education is as important as feeding the refugees and providing healthcare,” Alachkar said.

For school-aged kids, Alachkar said Syria needs basic reading and writing education for the illiterate in the form of a non-conventional school.

“Students can go and volunteer,” Alachkar said. “They can teach for two or three weeks in the summer during their vacations. It makes a big difference to the kids there, as well as to the students themselves because it’s really a very rich experience.”

Alachkar said she advocates for high school and university-aged Syrian students, as well as scholars, everywhere she goes.

“If every university provides one scholarship for one Syrian student, imagine how many students you could save,” Alachkar said.

As a visiting associate professor from the University of California-Irvine Medical School, Alachkar is conducting research on the neurobiological mechanisms that contribute to psychiatric disorders. She was able to flee Syria in the midst of a civil war due to support from the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund.