At first, I had difficulties adjusting in Aberdeen within the community and academic environment. I started to settle in and make good friends and came to love Aberdeen so much – I still do.Dr Alaa Hamdon
How did you end up in Scotland?
I came to Scotland after leaving my country because ISIS took over my city, Mosul City in Iraq. I had to flee and leave everything behind me and went to Turkey.
I stayed in Turkey for a few months, in terrible conditions, with little money and support. The Council for At-Risk Academics accepted me to be a Fellow and they found a fellowship for me at the University of Aberdeen.
How do you find life here?
At first, I had difficulties adjusting in Aberdeen within the community and academic environment. I started to settle in and make good friends and came to love Aberdeen so much – I still do. I enjoyed my time living in Aberdeen, and I have moments where I miss it a great deal. I appreciate the support that I received from the University and all my colleagues and friends in Aberdeen.
In 2016, Alaa began Mosul Book Bridge, a campaign to rebuild and restock the Mosul University Library, which was badly damaged by ISIS after their occupation of Mosul in 2014. The campaign is a joint initiative of Book Aid International, the Young Academy of Scotland and University College London. Alaa returned to Mosul in 2017 to help his city and university begin their slow recovery.
For more information about this Mosul Book Bridge, visit www.bookaid.org/mosul/