Skip to main content

'We are still here': The stories of Syrian academics in exile

Parkinson, Tom, Zoubir, Tarek, Abdullateef, Shaher, Abedtalas, Musallam, Alyamani, Ghana, Al Ibrahim, Ziad, Al Husni, Majdi, Alhaj Omar, Fuad, Iboor, Fadi, Allito, Husam, and others. (2018) 'We are still here': The stories of Syrian academics in exile. International Journal of Comparative Education and Development, 20 (3/4). pp. 132-147. ISSN 2396-7404. (doi:10.1108/IJCED-06-2018-0013)

PDF - Author's Accepted Manuscript
Download (969kB) Preview
Official URL


Purpose The purposes of this paper are twofold: to generate insight into the experiences of Syrian academics in exile in Turkey, and to explore approaches to collaboration and community building among academics in exile and with counterparts in the international academic community. Design/methodology/approach The study employs a hybrid visual-autobiographical narrative methodology, embedded within a Large Group Process (LGP) design Findings Findings are presented in two phases: The first phase presents a thematic analysis of narrative data, revealing the common and divergent experiences of twelve exiled academics. The second phase presents a reflective evaluation of undertaking the LGP and its implications for community building and sustaining Syrian academia in exile. Research limitations While this is a qualitative study with a small participant group, and therefore does not provide a basis for statistical generalisation, it offers rich insight into Syrian academics’ lived experiences of exile, and into strategies implemented to support the Syrian academic community in exile. Practical implications The study has practical implications for academic development in the contexts of conflict and exile; community building among dispersed academic communities; educational interventions by international NGOs and the international academic community; and group process design. Originality/value The study makes an original contribution to the limited literature on post-2011 Syrian higher education by giving voice to a community of exiled academics, and by critically evaluating a strategic initiative for supporting and sustaining Syrian academia. This represents significant, transferable insight for comparable contexts.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/IJCED-06-2018-0013
Uncontrolled keywords: Syria, Academic development, Exile, Visual Methods, Group Process, Higher Education
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Faculties > University wide - Teaching/Research Groups > Centre for the Study of Higher Education
Depositing User: Tom Parkinson
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2018 14:14 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 21:13 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year