Give Students Access to Online Education

Online Education

Target: Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, Adam J. Szubin

Goal: Make free online education accessible again for students in Cuba, Iran, and Sudan

Until recently, Coursera, an online education platform, has provided students worldwide with access to free courses and other online educational resources. Recently, however, the US Department of State and the Office of Foreign Assets Control has restricted students residing in the “blacklisted” countries of Cuba, Iran, and Sudan from accessing this website.

Before the ban, Coursera helped students from countries all over in their pursuits to better themselves intellectually. Just last year, Syrian doctor Mahmud Angrini explained how Coursera helped him improve his English language abilities, along with knowledge in other departments, and also motivated him tomove forward through the obstacles his life. Despite the fact that Syria is also considered a “blacklisted” country, the accomplishments of Angrini demonstrate that good can be done by making education accessible for everyone.

With education, more people can hold the power to better their lives and also improve that of family, friends, and community members around them. However, because of these restrictions on Coursera, students in Cuba, Iran, and Sudan are being robbed of this opportunity. Free and easily accessible education is a human right that should not be hindered or blocked by any entity, regardless of the situation. It is unacceptable for the United States to block any individual’s access to education, even when that individual lives in a country on the “blacklist”. Sign this petition and demand the Director of Foreign Assets Control lift these restrictions on free online education.


Dear Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, Adam J. Szubin,

The educational platform Coursera has been providing students worldwide with the opportunity to better themselves intellectually through access to free courses and other resources that may otherwise be quite expensive. Recently, however, access to Coursera has been restricted for students in Cuba, Iran, and Sudan on the basis that these countries are considered “blacklisted.”

Many students have used Coursera to improve their lives, including doctor Mahmud Angrimi, from Syria, another “blacklisted” country. In his blog, he details his experiences facing obstacles in his life and how his education on Coursera encouraged him to succeed through it. Angrini is merely one story among many accounts of people using their education for a positive change.

Restrictions put on Syria to access the site have been lifted and I ask that the same be done for users in Cuba, Iran, and Sudan. Accessibility to a free online education can help these student improve their lives and that of their community, and access to education is a basic human right, so for these reasons I implore you to lift the restriction placed on Coursera for students in Cuba, Iran and Sudan.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Gregory Ferenstein via zowchow

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