The funding will help assist Iraqi universities get accreditation for their business programmes.The University of Dubai will use a $500,000 (Dh1,836,500) grant from USAID to help two Iraqi universities improve the quality of their business programmes, which has deteriorated after wars and economic hardship.USAID is part of the United States Government's reconstruction and development effort in Iraq and has devoted funds towards the reconstruction and development effort in Iraq.Dr Omar Hefni, president of the University of Dubai (UD), announced that the grant was approved a week ago and work will commence at Al Mansour University College and the University of Baghdad on November 1. The project will continue until December 31, 2013.UD will help the universities get their business programmes accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)."The USAID programme identified the main issue as a quality challenge. The most severe challenge is in Iraq's business education in general and specifically in banking and finance," said Dr Hefni."This is probably is due to the fact that 80 per cent of graduates in the business sector in Iraq are unemployed," he added.Therefore there is a critical need for improved education standards through the pursuit of international accreditation, the AACSB in particular, which UD already has. UD will focus on building the systems and processes for an effective business school that meets international standards. They will also focus on student learning, internship, scholarship, entrepreneurship, career development and the placement of business graduates in jobs.Come November 1, Dr Hefni will visit the universities and thereafter UD faculty from the College of Business will travel to Iraq to assist them with their goals. Dr Hefni said UD decided to apply for the grant because "we always leave our door open for collaboration. It's a good opportunity to help a country like Iraq go through an accreditation process".UD felt a need to share their expertise, collaborate and become involved in the exchange of students and faculty. Iraq's universities are experiencing many difficulties and have to restructure themselves — "with the help of USAID they are encouraging educational institutions to start on a strong foundation", said Dr Hefni.The USAID programme identified the main issue as a quality challenge. The most severe challenge is in Iraq's business education in general and specifically in banking and finance."