Speaker: Keith Watenpaugh
Affiliation: UCD Professor, Human Right Studies
Title: Securing Refugee Higher Education Futures and the Need to Close the Digital Divide in East Africa: A report on the joint UC Davis Human Rights Studies Program/Kepler Article 26 Backpack Refugee Academic Mobility and Human Rights Education Learning Project, Rwanda and Ethiopia 2021-2023
During 2021-2022, UC Davis Human Rights Studies faculty, staff, and students collaborated with the higher education NGO, Kepler, to empower higher education access for over 2200 university-age refugee young people in Rwanda through the implementation of the UC Davis Article 26 Backpack. This talk shares findings from a report on that work and argues in part that document safety, education about the right to access one’s educational materials and knowledge of the human rights to privacy, education, and work should be part of all refugee higher education and related civilian protection initiatives. Among the key findings of the report is that Backpack is sustainable and fits squarely into growing university-based and scholarship agency support for service and global learning opportunities, and that while refugees and other displaced people are often unaware of their human rights, including the human right to education, they are eager to learn about their human rights and how best to protect and promote them.