Rebuilding from Conflict - the Power of Education in Emergencies
One more Ar event, with Sultan Barakat, Jo Beall and Jorge Sampaio.
It was with great pleasure that the Ar | Respire connosco team organized the very special event 'Rebuilding from Conflict - the Power of Education in Emergencies' which took place last Friday, 11th March at the Auditorium of the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown.
This event supported the Global Platform for Syrian Students, a non-profit organization that provides scholarships and university places for students from Syria, whose education has been halted because of war and destruction.
The host for this event was Anna Hobbiss, a PhD student, currently finishing her studies in the Neuronal Structure and Function Lab, who is one of the founder members of the science communication initiative Ar | Respire connosco. In her opening talk, she contrasted her own story: a scientist like so many others, who decided to leave her country to pursue her scientific questions, to that of the students from countries living in conflict who end up having to leave their homes to continue their education.
Then, the two invited speakers took the stage. First, Dr. Sultan Barakat talked about his current research focus - state fragility and recovery in the Middle East. Dr Barakat also addressed the need for an international policy regarding higher education to involve greater protection of academic institutions in times of war, increased university networks to promote academic solidarity and more funding to rebuild higher education after conflict. Then, Dr. Jo Beall addressed the importance of education in emergencies, referring to examples based on her work in fragile cities and conflict situations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Last, but not least, former Portuguese president Jorge Sampaio explained how the Global Platform for Syrian Students places Syrian Students in universities around the world to continue their education and 3 Syrian students talked about their own experiences. Amongst other topics, they highlighted that being able to study outside their country and therefore being exposed to different cultures, allowed them to become more respectful and open to differences and to appreciate the culture of a country more. Additionally, there was discussion about the power that women have, via motherhood, in passing on these values to their children, directly creating a more inclusive and respectful society in the decades to come. These students regained their hope in the future by having the opportunity to continue their higher education studies and are very thankful to the Global Platform.
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