"If young Christians can be given an opportunity to gain a good education, then they will remain. ACN has already done everything possible to help the Christians to stay on in their native land, by investing in the reconstruction of their homes, their churches, and essential infrastructure."
"Now is the time to initiate this major project, which is a very ambitious one for us, and invest in the young people of the country."
Pope Francis will become the first pope to visit the country on March 5-8. On his last evening in Iraq, he will offer Mass at the Franso Hariri Stadium in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan.
The Mass is expected to be the largest gathering of Iraqi Catholics during his trip. A special identification card issued by the CUE will be required to enter the stadium.
Speaking at his general audience on March 3, Pope Francis said: "The Iraqi people are waiting for us; they awaited St. John Paul II, who was not permitted to go. One cannot disappoint a people for the second time. Let us pray that this journey will be a good one."
The university in Erbil offers a variety of degree-level subjects, including architecture and civil engineering. Fifty-four percent of the students are female and 46% male.
Archbishop Warda said: "I have always deeply appreciated the work ACN has done for us over many years, and especially after ISIS. To have ACN as the first foundational core donor for the scholarship program is most appropriate and most welcome."
"We need to bring good news to the people here during the papal visit; to be able to announce the vision to have 1,000 students by 2025, giving us a significant voice and a clear future for our young people and their parents, brings great hope."