On May 9th, twenty students in Damascus, Syria began an intensive nine-month programme, a collaborative endeavour between The Institute of Ismaili Studies and the local Ismaili community institutions. The Syrian Preparatory Programme was established for the purpose of developing human resource capacity in Syria. The programme is being conducted by the British Council, which is implementing a curriculum devised by the Department of Graduate Studies.

The programme aims to provide participants with proficiency in English and to further develop their conceptual knowledge and critical awareness. It targets individuals wishing to embark on graduate studies or enter managerial and leadership positions, providing training to assess problems, synthesize complex issues, and generate practical and intellectual solutions within their local context.

The programme has two tracks: the academic track will prepare students for post-graduate higher education at English-language institutions; the management track will enhance the English-language and management skills of current or potential personnel working in Ismaili community institutions in Syria in either voluntary or remunerated positions.

Students chosen for the programme are from different parts of Syria including Damascus, Salamieh, Khawabi, Tal al-Dara and Aleppo, and are equally distributed between the academic and management tracks.