"They had been through decades of war with very little attention paid to educating the next generation of scientists to come up through the system," Chesser said.
Dr. Ron Chesser is talking about the people of Iraq.
"It took several years of negotiation to put a good package together," Chesser said. "[Something] that was acceptable to the United States as well as to the government of Iraq."
Now he and Texas Tech are making it possible for Iraqi students to gain an education here in Lubbock.
"The offer was full scholarships to four outstanding students to work in some discipline of science," Chesser said. "To become indoctrinated with the scientific techniques and teaching abilities and then to return to Iraq and help build the curriculum in the institutions."
Iraq's Minister of Education wanted to match the gift Texas Tech gave, so the Iraq government will pay to send a few undergraduate students and teachers to study at Tech.
"They wanted to also augment this at their expense by sending faculty and graduate students here," Chesser said. "So that they could become familiar with the latest scientific methods and teaching methods."
Chesser was given the idea after visiting the country in 2005 as part of a team elected to help dismantle Iraq's former nuclear facilities.
"Our work there in Iraq since 2005 has given us a good reputation with the administrative bases and with the government offices," Chesser said. "We're hoping that that will filter out into the educational system there."
Chesser said he hopes these students can help teach Texas Tech and Lubbock a little about the rest of the world.
"Bringing in students from Iraq not only enriches us culturally by learning more about the countries around the world," Chesser said. "But it does bring in unique types of teaching opportunities."
The students eligible for the scholarships are experts in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.