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Detroit Firms To Design $600M Oil Tech University In Iraq

WEST BLOOMFIELD TWP. (WWJ) -- A consortium of Southeast Michigan architecture and design firms has been hired to design a $600 million, 2.8 million-square-foot new university in Basra, Iraq to teach petroleum engineering.

This week, Iraq's Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Ali Al-Adeeb, is touring projects created by the firms that are part of Icon Global Architecture Engineering -- Albert Kahn, Rossetti, Saroki, Mannik & Smith, Kalabat, and Walbridge.

On the tour is the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan, Henry Ford Health System's new hospital in West Bloomfield Township, Lawrence Technological University in Southfield and Michigan State University in East Lansing.

Al-Adeeb's focus while touring will be on energy-efficient buildings, classrooms fostering a creative learning environment and building aesthetics.

Victor Saroki, CEO of Saroki Architecture in Birmingham, said the group originally pitched itself to the Iraqis about 18 months ago to build teaching hospitals. He said the higher education focus came later.

Victor Saroki On Iraq Project

Saroki and Alan Cobb, president and CEO of Albert Kahn, said they're proud to be part of a project that symbolizes Iraq getting back on its feet after 30 years of sanctions and war.

Albert Kahn CEO Alan Cobb On Iraq Project

And, they said, there's a natural connection between Detroit and Iraq. With a population of more than 121,000, metro Detroit is home to the largest Chaldean community outside of Iraq, in addition to nearly 100,000 Iraqi Muslims.

The new university will focus on educating students in energy research, fuels and lubricants, and is a major step in increasing oil efficiency and helping rebuild the war-torn country.

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