Christians of Syria invited to study at Manhattanville College in New York

Lilit Sedrakyan
Public Radio of Armenia

The “Christians in Need” Foundation has been recently established in the US to support the Christian nations of the Middle East. It aims to save the ancient Christian communities and their cultures.

Professor Siobhan Nash-Marshall from Manhattanville College is trying to focus the public attention to the threats facing the old Christian nations and help find avenues of their solution.

According to the Professor, the results of different studies show that the number of Christians killed in the world over the past century is higher than that during the previous 1,900 years; 45-50 million Christians were killed only in the 20th century. The genocide of 1.5 million Armenians at the turn of the century was only part of the tragedy of the Christian community, Professor Nash-Marshall said. She said the same continues in Syria today, where people are being killed for their religion.

“For me to save the Armenian means to save the Christian culture,” she said. According to the Professor, the Foundation aims to ensure education for Christians of Syria, to save the Christian nations in the Middle East.

The “Christians in Need” organizes the education of 100 young people at the Manhattanville College. They will live in a student’s campus, will study at the college for four years and return to the unstable region to make their contribution to the re-establishment of peace.

“We’ll ensure four years of peaceful life for 100 Syrian students. Living in our campus means having the chance to communicate with the world and the 16,000 students from different parts of America,” Siobhan Nash-Marsha said, adding that “what’s the most important is that the program will help form leaders.”

According to the Professor, 150-260 thousand Christians are being killed in the world annually, which is much more than people following other religions. She said she has shared the concerns with Baroness Caroline Cox of the US House of Lords.

“Small Armenia and Artsakh with a total population of 3 million are surrounded by Muslims. People of Artsakh have to struggle every day. Only the Safarov case is a vivid example,” the Professor said, reminding that the Azerbaijani Human Rights Defender had stated on that occasion that every Azerbaijani had to do the same, that Safarov was not a criminal as killing an Armenian is not considered a crime in Azerbaijan.

The Foundation has already reached an agreement with the Manhattanville College of New York on a 40% discount for Syrian students. Representatives of the Foundation have discussed the initiative with the leaders of Christian Churches and have received their support. At this point they are waiting for applications from students, but before that they intend to bring the news to Syria through the large Armenian network.

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