Duhok City is located in the Kurdistan region, in the north part of Iraq, north-east of Mosul, 65 km to the north-east border with Turkey, and about 180 km north and north-east to the Kurdistan/Syrian border. Duhok is also 165 km south-east to the capital of Kurdistan region, Erbil.

Organisation reference

University of Duhok


The University of Duhok is a governmental institution in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq [7]. It was founded in 1992 to cater for the HE needs of the Kurdish youth. Currently, the university has 18 colleges, 17 training, consulting and research centers. The student population in the University of Duhok currently stands at 18,000 students. The University of Duhok’s mission is to support the economic, social, cultural and environmental development in the Duhok Governorate, Kurdistan Region and Iraq, through the continuous supply of quality graduates and research in the different specializations.

Geographical context

Geographically, the city is located between two chains of mountains; it has four seasons and is surrounded by agricultural lands which mainly produce wheat, barley, sesame seeds, rice, corn, and a variety of fruits, nuts and vegetables. The main water supply of the city comes from Duhok Dam, Mosul Dam and several springs and rivers.

The city has four main highways, one linked to the Turkish border through Khabor border point to the Mediterranean ports, the second one to the north Syrian, Fyash Khabor border point across the Tigris river, the third one to Rabeaa – Mosul border point, to north

Social context

The area of the city is about 1075 km2 and contains mainly native Kurdish people and minorities of Assyrians, Armenians, Turkmans and Arabs. The main religion practiced in the region is Islam, other practised religions include Christian Orthodox and Catholicism, Judaism, and old Kurdish religions, Yazidies and Kakais. Duhok has many mosques, monasteries and churches.

Duhok has a population of about half a million. In addition, there are about 850,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) from Mosul and about 250,000 external refugees from Syria. The number of refugees has increased during the

Economic context

The city has various governmental and private institutions that develop activities in the following sectors: health, education, agriculture, water purification, dams, electricity generation and distribution, tourism industries (including holiday resorts and recreational centres, sightseeing of religious and historical sites), crude petroleum refineries for extraction, production and distribution, building materials and construction companies, refugees centres and camps. The main economy of the region depends on the selling of crude petroleum and natural gas production and the industries

Environmental issues

There are a range of environmental issues and challenges facing the region: food resources, water resources, air quality, biodiversity, and the environmental impact of conflict and landmine clearance. These are detailed below.

Food Resources

The region benefits from a wide range of locally sourced food products: rice, wheat, barely, seeds (sesame, sunflower), olives, various types of grapes, citric fruits (e.g., oranges, lemons, mandarins), apples, apricots, prunes, pomegranate, berries, figs, almonds, walnuts, melons and watermelons, and large verities of herbs and vegetables. Due to the

Social issues

Due to the crisis that the region and the rest of Iraq are currently facing because of the wars, the low economy and the support needed for the large number of internally displaced people and refugees, the area is going through serious hardship. This is in spite of this country’s rich resources of oil and gas, water resources, agricultural lands, various types of economical minerals and tourism. The current crisis has affected different sectors. For instance, civil servants’ salaries have not been paid in full for the past three years; instead, they receive only a quarter of the salary every 3

Economic issues

Due to the current economic crisis and the low price of oil, a large number of companies mainly working in the oil sector have closed down and this has had a large impact on other industries and companies depending on these oil companies. For example, the construction of roads and highways, power generation agriculture and tourism have been badly affected. As a consequence, the number of unemployed people has increased the employability prospects of recent university graduates have decreased significantly. 

Also of issue is the high influx numbers of refugees, the associated costs of

Other regionally-specific issues

The academic staff at University of Duhok, are confronted with a lack of academic materials, facilities and sustained contacts with their counterparts worldwide. This is due to the current war efforts and logistics against ISIS terrorists, economic and political crises which are facing the Kurdistan Region and the rest of Iraq. In addition, universities and staff are overloaded due to the influx of large numbers of refugees and IDPs from the other parts of Iraq and Syria. The University of Duhok, for instance, has accepted more than 2,000 refugees and IDPs who created an unexpected load on

Organisation and management

University presidents are appointed by the president of the Regional Government. Other senior managers down to heads of departments are appointed by the president of the university. All the universities’ senior posts are appointed by the Regional Minister of Higher Education.

Main priorities of HEI in the region

Since its establishment in 1992-1993, the University of Duhok has the following main priorities: medicine (with an established College of Medicine), agriculture (the College of Agriculture), engineering (College of Engineering), and languages. The focus on agriculture stems from the well-known potential of the Duhok region as a producer of fruits and vegetables. The Duhok Polytechnic University has the following technical colleges in various districts within Duhok governorate: Engineering and Administration in Akre district, Health in Shekhan district, Technical Informatics College of Akre

Addressing local issues

The HE sector is currently working on addressing local issues related to oil and gas, agriculture, health, tourism, education, water resources, management and distribution, and environmental Protection and management.Current HEIs in the area have initiated a series of concrete projects in this sense. For example, the College of Engineering coordinate civil engineering programs with Duhok city authorities for the development of water irrigation water supplies from Duhok and Mosul Dams and the rivers. These projects also work on purification and distribution systems and waste water treatment.

Contributing to the region

The newly opened Technical College of Petroleum & Mineral Sciences is conducting research programs and works in collaboration with petroleum companies in the region and with the Ministry of Natural Resources on the development of the oil and gas sectors and their related industries.

The main economy of the region depends on sales of crude petroleum and natural gas and their related industries, agriculture and tourism. Due to the current economic crisis and the low price of oil, there is a large number of companies mainly working in the oil sector that have been closed down. In turn, this has

Cultural issues

Duhok city is a mixture of various historically integrated ethnic and religious cultures. The majority of Kurdish people speak the Bahdinani Kurdish dialect, while the Assyrians speak the Aramic language. The Turkmans speak Turkish and the Arabs use Arabic. The city provides a rich landscape of languages and communities that tap into the resources of the region.

The religions in Duhok are mainly Islamic (75%), Yazidi (15%), Christian (7%) and Kakai (3%), represented in the city by mosques, churches, monasteries and Yazidi temples.


Duhok, Kurdistan