The University of Kufa is a public university located in Najaf, 100 miles south of Baghdad. Najaf is considered sacred by Shi'a Muslims and is also known as the "City of Books". It was formed in 1987 on the basis of previously existing academic institutions.
Najaf has had a faculty of jurisprudence since 1958 and the medical school had been launched as part of the University of Mustansiriya in 1977.
It has grown incrementally since, starting with the faculty for the education of women in 1989 and a faculty of arts two years later, to become one of the largest universities in Iraq with around 30,000 students spread across 20 faculties.
With the slogan of "Education for a Better World", there has been a focus on sustainability, religious dialogue and high quality medical education.
Since 2015, it has hosted the only UNESCO chair in Religious Dialogue, and the UN agency’s office on campus supports a significant seminar programme. The Islamic Law faculty has introduced classes on the Talmud, Judaism’s holy book, as part of its inter-faith programmes.
The UN’s sustainable development goals have been incorporated into the university’s mission and given a number of practical expressions. The faculty of agriculture has since 2016 taken an active role in the "Million Tree project" which is aimed to protect and develop rare varieties, while engineering researchers in 2018 developed a solar-powered car.
Since 2011 the college of medicine has been in partnership with the University of Leicester to build an effective medical education programme and also has a well-established relationship with Al-Sadr Hospital.