The American University of Kurdistan: Fostering Excellence in Higher Education

Nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Duhok, a city in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), the American University of Kurdistan (AUK) stands as a beacon of hope and progress f

The American University of Kurdistan: Fostering Excellence in Higher Education
November 18, 2023

Nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Duhok, a city in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), the American University of Kurdistan (AUK) stands as a beacon of hope and progress for higher education in the region. 

AUK was founded by Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani as a non-profit institution of higher learning. It has rapidly gained recognition for its commitment to providing quality education and promoting intellectual growth and cultural diversity through the pursuit of growth, adherence to time-honored values, and dedication to making an impact on the KRI and the world.

The story of AUK's inception is a testament to the vision of its founders. Recognizing the potential for higher education to transform lives and the broader society, AUK was established to bridge the gap between the region's potential and the opportunities available to its youth. The university's mission is to provide a world-class education while nurturing critical thinking, civic responsibility, and a global perspective.

Situated in Duhok, AUK is a testament to the power of education to transform lives and communities. With its devotion to academic excellence, cultural diversity, global partnerships, and community engagement, AUK is rapidly establishing itself as a higher education hub in the Middle East. As it continues to grow and evolve, the AUK stands as a shining example of progress and hope for the future.


AUK's mission is to be at the forefront of preparing future generations of leaders by delivering a high-quality American-style education that combines curricular and co-curricular excellence. This approach focuses on the pursuit of transformative knowledge, innovative research, ethical community service, respect for inclusion and diversity, global connectedness, and the promotion of life-long learning. Ultimately, AUK's mission is anchored in its dedication to fostering economic, environmental, social, and political advancement on a regional, national, and global scale.


AUK's vision is to ascend to a position of global recognition as a premier institution not only in the Middle East but also on the international stage. This recognition will be earned through cultivation of academic excellence, nurturing of creativity, and engagement in the highest caliber of applied scientific research.

The university aspires to be a beacon of educational brilliance, offering its students a world-class learning experience that equips them with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to succeed in an increasingly interconnected world. By continuously pushing the boundaries of research and intellectual innovation, the university thus seeks to contribute to the betterment of society and the advancement of knowledge.

AUK's vision is not limited to mere academic pursuits; it includes a desire to make a global impact. The institution aims to be an influential agent of change, working toward a future where its graduates are not only leaders in their respective fields but also catalysts for positive transformation in their communities, nations, and the world at large.

In the pursuit of its vision, AUK is dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of excellence, thus serving as a model of educational and research innovation for others to follow. Through its unwavering devotion to these ideals, AUK is poised to make substantial contributions to the fields of education, research, and service.

Academic excellence

AUK offers a range of undergraduate and graduate programs across various disciplines, including business administration, information technology, engineering, social sciences, and humanities. These programs are designed to meet international standards, and the university is dedicated to continuous improvement in curriculum and pedagogy.

One of AUK's strengths lies in its distinguished faculty. The institution boasts a team of highly qualified and experienced educators, many of whom have international experience in teaching and research. This blend of local and global expertise ensures that students receive a well-rounded education.

Cultural diversity

AUK's student body is a vibrant tapestry of diverse backgrounds, reflecting the university's commitment to fostering cultural exchange and understanding. Students from various regions and countries come together to learn and grow, contributing to a rich and dynamic learning environment.

This cultural diversity is celebrated through events and activities that showcase the traditions, customs, and talents of the AUK community. It not only broadens students’ horizons but also prepares them for a globalized world where cultural sensitivity and cross-cultural communication are essential skills.

State-of-the-art facilities

AUK takes pride in providing its students with world-class facilities that support their academic pursuits. The university's campus boasts modern classrooms, well-equipped laboratories, a comprehensive library, and recreational spaces. AUK's commitment to infrastructure development is a testament to its dedication to fostering a conducive learning environment.

Global partnerships and opportunities

To further enhance the educational experience, AUK has cultivated strong ties with institutions and organizations worldwide. These partnerships enable students to engage in exchange programs, research collaborations, and internship opportunities in various countries, broadening their global perspectives and boosting their career prospects.

Community engagement

AUK recognizes the importance of giving back to the community. Through various outreach programs, the university is actively involved in initiatives that aim to uplift, engage with, and support local communities. This devotion to social responsibility helps students develop a sense of civic duty and prepares them to make meaningful contributions to society.

Samal Erfani is a Professor of Anthropology and Researcher.

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