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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) offered 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. 

Courses’ Descriptions

International Refugee Law (July 1 - 5, 2018)

The course provided 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 learned 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. 

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 analysed 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 focused on the international, regional, and national legal frameworks. It also looked 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 studied how gender is impacting refugee policy and refugees’ experience from a multidisciplinary perspective: sociological, historical and public policy analysis. For instance, the course examined 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 also looked 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  alo critically reflected on the meaning of certain concepts, such as vulnerability, labelling or culturalization/sexualization of citizenship. 

It focused 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.