University of Pittsburgh
October 17, 2007

Iraq Was a Failed State at Start of 2003 War, Says Pitt Professor; Failure to Provide Humanitarian Aid Has Created a Generation in Waiting

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PITTSBURGH-Iraqi refugee children in neighboring countries have little hope for a future because they are not in school, says University of Pittsburgh faculty member Maureen McClure, an expert in education in emergencies. "Iraq was a failed state at the start of the war in 2003," notes McClure. "There were few jobs, terrible medical care, and infant mortality was among the highest in the world. For many life got worse, not better, after the war started, because their personal safety became threatened by criminal gangs. Families picked up what little they had and left the country. Now, we have a generation in waiting."

McClure asks, "What will these children be thinking about as they grow up? And what would they have been thinking if the United States and the international community had provided them with massive humanitarian aid and local security when they really needed it?"

McClure is a Pitt associate professor of education, chair of the Department of Administrative and Policy Studies in Pitt's School of Education, and invited affiliate of Pitt's Ford Institute for Human Security. She has written numerous journal articles and technical reports and given research presentations, including "Youth Security in Refugee Camps: How Humanitarian Education Turned Them From Recruitment Centers for Soldiers to Child Friendly Spaces" (The Ford Institute of Human Security and Centre for the Study of Civil War, PRIO, The Research Council of Norway, Sept. 14-16, 2006).