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Summer 2018 Short Courses

Summer Short Courses (1 – 26 July, 2018)

The Center for Migration and Refugee Studies (CMRS) at The American University in Cairo (AUC) is offering the following short courses during the month of July 2018: 

1. International Refugee Law (July 1 – 5, 2018) by Parastou Hassouri, Refugee & Migration Law Consultant

2. Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling in the Middle East and North Africa Region: Laws, Policies, and Actors (July 8 – 12, 2018) by Nourhan Abdel Aziz, Research Associate, Center for Migration and Refugee Studies AUC.

3. Gender and Refuge: what kind of dance partners?  (15 – 19 July, 2018) by Alexandra Parrs, Visiting professor, American University in Belgium and research associate, CeMIS, University of Antwerp. 

4. Palestinian Refugees (July 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 2018) by Tahreer  Araj, Assistant professor of Sociology, the American University in Cairo. 

Eligibility for all courses

Requirements: These courses are offered for graduate and postgraduate students, and researchers as well as practitioners working with migrants and refugees. A minimum knowledge of displacement and migration terminologies and context is a requirement for participation in any of the four courses. 

All courses are conducted in English and no translation facilities are provided.  Participants should have a very good command of the English language. Each course will run from 9.30 am till 4 pm for five days.

Interested applicants can apply for one course or for all courses. 

Number of Participants: minimum of 12 in each course

NB: Non- Egyptian applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early because it takes more than one month to obtain Egyptian visa. 

Dates and Location:

Courses will take place at AUC Tahrir Campus. The exact location and room numbers will be forwarded to accepted participants before the start of the courses.

Courses’ Descriptions

International Refugee Law (July 1 - 5, 2018)

The course will provide post-graduate students, international agency staff, NGO workers, lawyers and others working with refugees or interested in refugee issues with an introduction to the international legal framework which governs the protection of refugees.  Through lectures, case studies and  small group discussions, course participants will learn about the basic features of international refugee law through the lens of the 1951 Refugee Convention, looking at the elements of the definition(s) of "refugee," who is excluded from the definition, the role of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the process by which refugee status is determined, the rights of refugees under international law, the ethical and professional obligations of those representing refugees, and other issues of refugee policy.  A background in law is useful but not required. 

About the Instructor: Parastou Hassouri,  Refugee & Migration Law Consultant, she has previously taught international refugee law at the American University of Cairo and has extensive experience in the field of international refugee law and refugee and immigrant rights and migration policy. Parastou has served as a consultant with different UNHCR operations in the Refugee Status Determination, Resettlement and Protection Units in Morocco, Turkey, Jordan, and the Russian Federation.  She has served as a research consultant for NGO's including the Global Detention Project, where her research focused on migration-related detention in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.  Prior to that, as a consultant for Human Rights First, she conducted extensive research on the resettlement of Iraqi refugees out of the Middle East to third countries.  She has worked as a Legal Advisor and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Focal Point at Africa and Middle East Refugee Assistance (AMERA) in Cairo.  Her experience in the United States includes serving as an Attorney Advisor at the Immigration Courts of New York City and Los Angeles and working as an immigration attorney in private practice in New York City.  In addition, she designed and directed the Immigrant Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, where she focused on responding to ethnic profiling and other forms of anti-immigrant backlash in the United States in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11.  She also occasionally writes on the topic of refugee and migration policy.  

Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling in the Middle East and North Africa Region: Laws, Policies, and Actors (July 8 – 12 , 2018)  

In recent years, economic and political turbulence in many parts of the world is forcing people out of their countries of origin. With no prospects for regular migration, irregular movement became a common practice.  Demand for low skilled/low cost labor in the global north, the existence of well-established informal labor practices in destination and transit countries, a growing network of smuggling and trafficking criminal organizations, and the lack of information about regular migration channels, result in migrants falling prey to these criminal networks and in many cases, ending up exploited for labor or sex.

Through lectures, presentations, case studies and discussions, this one-week intensive course analyses the concepts of human trafficking and migrant smuggling while discussing various practical cases from around the globe, with particular emphasis on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It focuses on the international, regional, and national legal frameworks. It also looks at existing policies, institutional structures, and modalities of prevention, protection and prosecution, including victim identification, national/trans-national referral mechanisms and best practices in combating these crimes while addressing the needs of survivors. 

About the Instructor: Nourhan Abdel Aziz is a research associate at the Center for Migration and Refugee Studies in the American University in Cairo (AUC). Her research addresses irregular migration and refugee protection and livelihoods. She participated in the drafting of the Egyptian National Action Plan on the Institutional Strengthening in the Area of Labor Migration. She led a project on rejected asylum seekers in Egypt and is currently leading a project on statelessness in Egypt. She was the research coordinator for a project looking at bilateral labor and social security agreements in the North African Sub-region; a project funded by the International Labor Organization (ILO). She was also the coordinator for a project on migration in the African Continent funded by Ford Foundation. She coordinated the implementation of the project in North Africa, particularly in Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco. She has also conducted field research on Egyptian migrants in Italy in cooperation with Cairo University. Abdel Aziz holds a B.A in Political Science, an MA in Migration and Refugee Studies, and LL.M in International and Comparative Law from the American University in Cairo.

Gender and Refuge: what kind of dance partners?  (15 – 19 July, 2018)

In the past thirty years, women went from being ignored to taking a central place in the humanitarian discourse on refugees and becoming the main focus point of refugee policies. The violence perpetrated against women fleeing and seeking asylum was officially revealed for the first time by the “First World Survey on the Role of Women in Development” at the first United Nations World Conference on Women held in Mexico in 1975. In 1990, the UNHCR adopted its first Policy on Refugee Women, and twenty years later all UN actors, many government donors and many larger humanitarian NGOs had developed their own gender policies. Humanitarian aid in general, and international refugee protection in particular, have left gender-blindness behind. A considerable collection of policy documents, field handbooks and programmatic responses have been developed.

This course will study how gender is impacting refugee policy and refugees’ experience from a multidisciplinary perspective: sociological, historical and public policy analysis. For instance, the course will examine how gender is taken into account by outlining practices, goals, and benchmarks that encourage the implementation of programs that explicitly address women’s protection and needs in post-conflict humanitarian and refugee resettlement efforts. We will also look at how refugee women are represented as requiring specific protection, or sometimes are targeted as crucial actors in the establishment of refugee support programs, particularly those that involve food and education, and comport some nurturing elements.

The course will also critically reflect on the meaning of certain concepts, such as vulnerability, labelling or culturalization/sexualization of citizenship. 

It will focus on cases studies from the MENA region and the EU. 

About the instructor: Alexandra Parrs is a visiting professor at the American University in Belgium and a research associate at the Center for Migration and Intercultural Studies (CeMIS), at Antwerp University. Prior to that, she taught for the American University in Cairo department of Sociology and Center for Migration and Refugee Studies (CMRS). The main focus of her research is gender and refuge, integration policies in Europe, ethnic and religious minorities’ identity construction and diasporic practices. She has lived and taught in Belgium, Egypt, Burma and the Sultanate of Oman. 

Palestinian Refugees (July  21 , 22 , 24, 25 , 26, 2018)

Palestinian Refugees are the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine, the majority of whom were dispossessed and expelled when the Israeli colonial state was created in 1948. Consequently, the solution of the Palestinian refugee problem is the root for a just solution to the Palestinian question that has been challenged the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Law and refugee policy for decades. This interdisciplinary course will be an opportunity for students to engage directly with the major practical and theoretical issues connected with the background of the Palestinian refugee crisis, with special attention to the socio-political historical context and legal status of Palestinian refugees in the region (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza and Israel). Through a mix of lectures, working group exercises and interactive sessions, students examine critically the historical, political, legal and ideological forces that have shaped Palestinian refugees turbulent circumstances and participate actively in the contemporary debates in international law and analyze the specific context of Palestinian refugees in the Middle East. The key themes, which have taken emergent focus in the debate on the Palestinian refugee crisis, are statelessness, right of return, repatriation, self-determination, restitution compensation and protection. These themes are critically examined along with current discussions about the respective roles of UNRWA and UNHCR in the Palestinian refugee case. We hope to attract a diverse group of students who have both personal and professional interest in refugee policy and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The course is intended to be a stimulating experience for people who are familiar with issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but would like a broader critical or theoretical perspective, as well as for people who have experience with refugee, humanitarian, or international issues but who would like an intensive introduction to Palestinian refugees. Taking advantage of the short course format, the course will include a number of simulations and small group exercises. 

Each of the five days of the course will be organized around a theme related to Palestinian refugees

About the Instructor: Tahreer Araj is an activist scholar who works at the American University in Cairo as Assistant professor of Sociology. Tahreer received her PhD in Human and Community Development from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in USA. She accomplished her BA in Sociology and a MA in Gender, Development and Law from Birzeit University in Palestine. As a Palestinian, Dr. Tahreer worked for twenty years with a number of grassroots NGOs and international agencies in Palestine and leading many researches and initiatives about Palestinian refugees. She had been also working as a gender expert and consultant with several International development agencies and local NGOs in Egypt.

Her current research and teaching interests extend to a range of topics in; Social Movements; Community Mobilization; Refugees and Identity; Community Organizing and Development; Gender and Development; Cooperatives; Palestinian Women’s Movement; Middle East Social Movements. Dr. Tahreer just finished working on a research which was published on January, 2018 by Institute for Palestine studies examining the change in relationships between Egypt and Palestine and its impact on future solutions to the Palestinian question.


Deadline for submitting applications for all courses: 5th of June, 2018

Deadline for paying course deposit (30% of the course’s fee): 5 days after receiving the notification of acceptance 

Tuition Fees:

1) The fee for International participants is $ 500 per course. Participants are expected to pay a 30% of the total fees ($150) as a deposit. 

2) The Fee for Egyptians and residents in Egypt is EGP 4000. Participants are expected to pay the total fees as a deposit.

Please pay attention to the deposit deadline and kindly note that the deposit is non-refundable.  More information on payment method will be provided to accepted participants.

Tuition fees will cover course materials and two coffee breaks per course per-day. Participants are responsible for securing their visa, and cover the expenses of their travel to Egypt, as well as their accommodation and local transportation in Egypt. 

Independent researchers and students from Egypt and the global south can apply for a limited number of scholarships for tuition waiver. The accepted participants for tuition waiver would still be responsible for their travel expenses and accommodation in Cairo. Tuition waiver is not intended for participants who can be funded by their own institutions.

Application Information: 

To apply for the courses: 

1. Fill out the application form.

2. Send the application form to with your most recent C.V; Att. Naseem Hashim

Applicants may apply to and be accepted in more than one course. Please do not hesitate to contact if you have any difficulty with the application process.
Applicants accepted for the course will be notified by email within a week after the deadline for submitting the application.