The Founding of Damascus University 1903-1936: An essay in praise of the pioneers

Sami Moubayed

Abstract


Damascus University, a pioneer in Levantine academia, has generally been ignored by Syriatologists and historians. Its story speaks volumes about the founding fathers of the Syrian Republic, however, and the anti-colonial movement under French Mandate rule. This article looks its the founding yea8rs under Ottoman times and ends with the tenure of its founder and first president Riḍà Saʿīd. Given that collapse of higher education in Syria at present, because of the current war, it is imperative to look back and see how Syrian academics emerged from times of war to revamp their university after the turmoil of World War I and French occupation. Present academics might find inspiration and a roadmap for the future in looking at the university’s past and the deeds of its founders.


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