Category Archives: Human Interest

Don’t stagnate – elevate: the magic of change

April 19th, 2019

tmoc

We humans are creatures of habit and deeply distrust and avoid change. My current TEDx talk is about exactly this and it has a lot of connections to our work in the internationalisation world.

Why do mobility exchange numbers start to stagnate, e.g. in the Erasmus program, why do we fail to motivate all students to go and explore the world: e.g. a meagre 1.7% US students (332,000 mobile amongst a population of 19.9 Mio) are mobile. The main reason is that mobility is one of the more drastic and large versions of change and we humans simply hate that.

Instead, we love to stick to habits – e.g. most people choose the same restaurant and often the same food when going out for dinner! We wonder why less than 10% of students become mobile across the European countries but we do wonder much less if we know that 66% of Europeans live within 25km of their parents and only 0.4% changed their country of residence in the last year. This is the level of immobility that we are dealing with!

Why are we so resistant to change? This has biological and psychological reasons. The most striking biological one is that our brain is the Lamborghini amongst our organs: not the largest (only 2% of the body mass) but the one consuming most of the energy (20%). And every change needs thinking and thus energy. Habits on the other hand do not and are therefore more efficient. Psychologically, habits are attractive because they make us quicker – no decisions to be taken, that is why we usually shave on autopilot – and most importantly, they keep us in our comfort zone. People do not move away far from home because that keeps them in their social comfort zone (parents, friends) and when you do not risk new food, you stay in your “nutritional comfort zone”. Importantly for us, most students are therefore very reluctant to leave THEIR social comfort zone, i.e. their home university.

In short, habits are very strong and stop us from changing. Now we could leave it at that, but I strongly believe we should not. Change is favorable for us in many ways: a study by Staudinger 2018 showed that the amount of gray matter in the brain in areas related to learning and attention is closely related to how much the patients changed job tasks over many years: more change -> more gray matter -> healthier brain. And also, only by change can we make new exciting experiences. So, we need to tell students that going abroad does not mean losing the old friends but rather gaining a lot of new friends!

But how do we achieve change? We need mainly time and pressure and I explain the reasons in the TEDx talk. I also give you an 8-step recipe and ask you and everybody to not stagnate by sticking to habits but elevate yourself by embracing the magic of change.

uwe

Uwe Brandenburg holds a PhD from the University of Bristol in Globalisation Studies, an MScEcon from the University of Wales at Swansea and an M.A. in Islamic Sciences from the WWU Münster.  He is currently the Managing Director of the Global Impact Institute in Prague and Associate Professor for Regional Cooperation and Impact of Higher Education at the University Rovira I Virgili in Tarragona, Spain. Prior to that he was Managing Partner of CHE Consult and CHE Consult Prague. He was also Director International at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin for eight years. Uwe has published widely on the topic of internationalization such as the much debated article with Hans de Wit on the end of internationalization in 2011 in the Boston IHE. He was the head author and team leader for both the Erasmus Impact Study (EIS, 2014) and the follow-up EIS Regional Analysis (EIS RA, 2016), the European Voluntary Service Impact Study (2017). He frequently presents on international conferences around the globe. He also frequently coaches individuals in leadership positions, teaches at different universities and conducts research. Uwe is a fervent believer in the value of change based on his personal experience as well as professional and academic insights. His research interests are internationalization for society, the influence of technological developments on internationalization and the assessment of impact.

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SYRIA: Education in Exile

March 29th, 2019

syria

Syria’s brutal civil war that began in 2011 has created the world’s largest displacement crisis, with almost 5.7 million registered refugees, including more than 2.5 million Syrian children now living in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. (In 2016, we posted an extensive piece on the Syrian conflict and its impact on the education system and the millions of its citizens who have been displaced. Click here to read more.)

The civil war has led to the creation of the Syrian Interim Government, an alternative government or a government in exile of the Syrian Opposition, which has been formed by the opposition umbrella group, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. The interim government is seated in exile in Turkey. Its headquarters in Syria are located in the city of Azaz in Turkish-occupied northern Syria.

In effect, at this time, there are 2 governments in operation representing Syria: the Syrian Arab Republic (SAR) led by President Assad and the Syrian Interim Government (SIG). Because of the conflict, the Ministry of Education (MOE) in SAR has placed the entire curriculum of secondary education on-line to allow for students to self-study. In this case, students will not receive a report card or transcript for each year of study. The only document they will receive is the certificate for final exams for the Secondary Baccalaureate which provides them access to tertiary education at the universities in Syria.

In direct opposition to the government of President Assad, the SIG’s MOE has instituted its own secondary curriculum for those in the Turkish refugee camps and Syrian schools in Turkey and offers its own Secondary Baccalaureate examinations. The Interim Government’s MOE is working closely with the MOE in the Turkish government to coordinate efforts between the two ministries to oversee all Syrian schools in Turkey. It is also discussing how Syrian university students living in exile can be admitted into Turkish universities to continue their education and qualify for scholarships.

Until recently, Turkey, and with some limitations, France, had been the only countries recognizing the Secondary Baccalaureate examinations administered by the Syrian Interim Government. But on March 11, 2019, the MOE under the Syrian Interim Government announced that its diplomas are being recognized by several European universities in the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden. The diplomas are not recognized by the Syrian Arab Government’s MOE and any Syrian returning to Syria will not be granted admission to the universities based on the SIG MOE’s Secondary Diploma.


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Now-Ruz, Persian New Year – Celebrating a New Day and New Beginnings

March 20th, 2019

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Seven years ago, I wrote a blog on the celebration of Now-Ruz (New Day) or the Persian New Year. At that time, the talk of war against Iran was the rhetoric of Washington.  Seven years later the rhetoric remains the same and the economic sanctions against Iran have been re-imposed. But threats of war and economic hardship have not dampened the spirits of Iranians in Iran when it comes to celebrating their long cherished festivities of Now-Ruz.

The celebration of Now-Ruz, takes effect at the exact astronomical beginning of Spring, known as the vernal equinox. Iranians in the diaspora and those living in Iran will celebrate the arrival of the Now-Ruz on March 20th at exactly 2:58:27 PM PDT.

Now-Ruz has been celebrated for nearly 3000 years. Its rituals and traditions date back to Zoroastrianism, the ancient Persian religion that existed until 7th century A.D. before the Arab invasion and the enforcement of Islam. Today, besides Iran, Now-Ruz is celebrated by nearly 300 million people from several countries that share this holiday (Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan and of course, the Iranian diaspora living in all corners of the globe.

In 2009, Now-Ruz was recognized by the U.N. as a tradition of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which “promotes values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families as well as reconciliation and neighborliness.”

In preparation for Now-Ruz, Iranians embark on the spring-cleaning of their homes, even make or buy a new set of clothes, and bake pastries in anticipation of visiting guests when gifts are exchanged and feasts enjoyed. Bakeries, food stores, bazaars (even those here in Los Angeles) are abuzz with shoppers stocking up on sweets, pastries, and all the herbs and condiments needed for baking and preparing traditional Persian dishes.

I left Iran when I was 10 before the Islamic Revolution, and remember receiving crisp bank notes from my parents and relatives.  Banks would issue newly printed paper bills and gold coins which were offered as gifts known as eidi.

The rituals surrounding the celebration of Now-Ruz are rich with symbolism and ceremony. They begin on the last Wednesday of winter with Chahar-Shanbeh Soori (Eve of Wednesday), a fire-jumping festival, where people create small bonfires in their neighborhoods and jump over them as the sun sets.

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Parents join in with their children and jump over the flames inviting happiness and abundance while releasing and letting go of darkness and negativity by chanting: “Offer me your lovely red hue and take away my sickly pallor.” With fire signifying light (day), the symbol of all that is good, and dark (night), the unknown and all that is evil, celebrants partaking in the fire festival look forward to the arrival of spring bringing longer days and new beginnings.

As a child growing up in Iran, I remember the minstrels or troubadours, known as Haji Firuz, who sang and danced in the streets dressed in bright red and yellow satin poufy pants and shirts, spreading good cheer and bringing merriment to neighborhoods.

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Another tradition, somewhat resembling the trick-or-treat of Halloween, included young men who disguised themselves as women under chadors (long veils) and went from street to street banging on pots and pans, shaking tambourines and raising raucous, warding off evil or any dark negative spirits. All this was done in jest as seeing a boy or young man in such a disguise invited laughs and more laughs.

Now-Ruz celebrations last for 13 days. As a child, Now-Ruz for me meant a school holiday lasting for 13 days. In fact, most businesses throughout the country would shut down for the duration of Now-Ruz. Everyone was on holiday!

A major feature of Now-Ruz is the preparation of the “Haft-Seen,” (seven “S’s”); a special display of seven specific offerings each beginning with the letter “S” in Farsi.

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Typically, the “Haft-Seen” includes the following: “seeb” or apple (promotes beauty and good health), “seer” or garlic (wards off bad omen), “samanou” (a sweet pudding, symbolizing affluence), “sabze” or wheat-germ (representing rebirth) grown in a flat dish a few days before the New Year, “sek-keh” or coin, preferably gold (for wealth and abundance), “senjed” (dried fruit from lotus tree, symbolizing love), and “somagh” or sumac (color of sunrise). In addition, there will also be a mirror (symbol for the sky), a goldfish in a bowl (life force), lit candles symbolizing fire and promoting enlightenment, colored eggs (symbol of fertility corresponding to the mother earth), sweets to spread sweetness and a book of poems by Hafiz or Rumi.

The Now-Ruz festivities end on the 13th day known as “Sizdah Bedar” (out with the 13th), and it is celebrated outdoors. Staying indoors is seen as a bad omen and families spend the day outside in parks and in the countryside near streams, rivers, and lakes, enjoying a festive picnic.

4py2

The “sabze” or plate of wheat-germ that was the centerpiece of the Haft-Seen is taken on this picnic so that young unmarried women wishing for a husband will tie a knot between the green shoots (symbolizing a marital bond) and toss it into running water.

5py2

Despite the Islamic Regime’s attempts to do away with Now-Ruz, calling it un-Islamic and pagan, the ancient tradition of celebrating the arrival of Spring continues in Iran

Conquerors have come and gone, dynasties have risen and fallen, and the plans for war may have been penciled in, but Now-Ruz is in ink and etched into the cultural fabric of Iranians. Now-Ruz is a reminder that the darkness is fleeting and the day will soon be longer than the night.

Happy Now-Ruz!

Please refer to the links shared below, to learn more about Now-Ruz:

https://en.unesco.org/silkroad/content/nowruz-celebrating-new-year-silk-roads

https://nbpostgazette.com/happy-nowruz-all-you-need-to-know-about-iranian-persian-new-year/

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Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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IRAN: An Update on Primary and Secondary Education System

March 1st, 2019

iran_prsec

Iran’s education system has undergone a number of reforms since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. One sector that has been seen several reforms in the past four decades is the primary and secondary education system.

The most recent changes to the education system, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), took place in 2013 where primary education has been extended from 5 to 6 years, followed by 3 years of lower secondary and 3 years of upper secondary. In the new system, the 13th year, known as pre-university (pishdaneshgahi) has been absorbed into the upper secondary cycle and is no longer offered.

Students who complete the 12th year from the new system and pass final exams will receive their Certificate/Diploma of High School Completion. They will then be eligible to sit for the national entrance exam for universities.

We have prepared a historic overview of Iran’s primary and secondary cycle for use as a quick reference when reviewing and evaluating academic transcripts of students from Iran.

Pre-1979 Islamic revolution    [5+3+4]

5 years primary (grades 1-5)

3 years middle school/guidance cycle (grades 6, 7, 8)

4 years upper secondary (grades 9, 10, 11, 12)

Post-1979 Islamic Revolution (through 1995)            [5+3+4]

5 years primary (grades 1-5)

3 years middle school/guidance cycle (grades 6, 7, 8)

4 years upper secondary (grades 9, 10, 11, 12)

1996-2013       [5+3+3+1]

5 years primary (grades 1-5)

3 years middle school/guidance cycle (grades 6, 7, 8)

3 years upper secondary (grades 9, 10, 11)

1 year pre-university (year 12)

2013 to present          [6+3+3]

6 years primary (grades 1-6)

3 years lower secondary cycle (grades 7, 8, 9)

3 years upper secondary cycle (grades 10, 11, 12)

Here’s a good link to a page on the UCAS website dedicated to Iran’s pre-university certificate and the recent changes made to the primary and secondary system: https://qips.ucas.com/qip/iran-pre-university-certificate-pishdaneshgahi

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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10 Facts on U.S. Immigration

January 25th, 2019

immigration

In November 2018, the Pew Research Center, which regularly publishes statistical portraits of the nation’s foreign-born, released the results of its latest research on U.S. immigration. We would like to share a summary of this research to help answer some key questions about the U.S. immigrant population.

  1. The United States has the world’s largest immigrant population. Currently, more than 40 million people living in the U.S. were born in another country representing nearly about every country in the world. (For more, click here)
  2. Today, immigrants account for 13.5% of the U.S. population, but this number remains below the record 14.8% share in 1890, when 9.2 million immigrants lived in the U.S. (Fore more, click here)
  3. 76% of immigrants are in the U.S. legally, while a quarter are unauthorized. (For more, click here)
  4. In 2016, 45% were naturalized U.S. citizens. Approximately, 27% of immigrants were permanent residents and 5% were temporary residents in 2016. Another 24% of all immigrants were unauthorized immigrants.
  5. Mexico ranks on the top as the origin country of the U.S. immigrant population. The next largest origin groups were those from China (6%), India (6%), the Philippines (4%) and El Salvador (3%). (For more, click here)
  6. Other regions which make up a smaller share include: Europe/Canada (13%), the Caribbean (10%), Central America (8%), South America (7%), the Middle East (4%) and sub-Saharan Africa (4%).
  7. Immigrants from South and East Asia, Europe, Canada, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa are more likely than U.S.-born residents to have a bachelor’s or advanced degree.
  8. According to a recent Pew Research Center report, the United States was home to 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants in 2016, a 13% decline from a peak of 12.2 million in 2007. (For more, click here)
  9. Although the vast majority of immigrants in the U.S. are in the country legally, only 45% of Americans in a survey conducted by PRC in June 2018 correctly said most immigrants were in the country legally. (For more, click here)
  10. Most Americans, that is 71%, hold a positive outlook on undocumented immigrants and see them holding jobs that American citizens do not want and approximately 65% say undocumented immigrants are not more likely than U.S. citizens to commit serious crimes. (For more, click here)

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world.  It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts.  To learn more about Pew Research Center and its research, go to http://www.pewresearch.org.

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Facts on the Bahá’í Institute of Higher Education (BIHE), Iran

July 27th, 2018

bahai
Artist: Caňo image source: link

From time to time, we are asked about the status of the Bahá’í Institute of Higher Education (BIHE), Iran, and how to evaluate the credentials of its graduates.

The Baha’is are members of a persecuted religious minority in Iran. The BIHE is not recognized by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Iran as the Iranian government does not recognize the Bahá’í faith. The followers of the faith face daily persecution and denied access to higher education. The BIHE was formed by former faculty/professors of universities in Iran who were dismissed from their posts and began offering instruction privately. Since one of the key elements of evaluating international credentials is determining the recognition/ accreditation of the institution by the appropriate official body, e.g. MOE, BIHE graduates continue to face challenges.

We came across this excellent white paper, by Mina Yazdani at Eastern Kentucky University. Mina is of the Bahá’í faith and had been a 4th year medical student at Shiraz (Pahlavi) University. She was, like all Iranian Bahá’ís expelled from the university after the victory of the Islamic revolution.  Mina’s article is deeply insightful and discusses the history of Bahá’í faith, the persecution of Bahá’ís and origins of the BIHE.

There is a 2014 documentary To Light a Candle, produced by Maziar Bahari, an Iranian journalist and the subject of Jon Stewart’s film Rosewater that focuses on Kamran and Kayvan Rahimian, brothers who studied and later taught at BIHE. Their father was imprisoned, tortured and killed by the regime at the beginning of the 1979 Iranian Revolution for sheltering other Bahá’ís and for not converting to Islam. The story of the Rahimians is emblematic of the wider Iranian Bahá’í experience.

To Light a Candle has already been screened for the public several hundred times around the world, at locations such as public libraries, university campuses and community centers. The trailer to the documentary is available in this link on YouTube.

The following list of facts is sourced from the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education’s website:  Source: http://www.bihe.org

BIHE at a Glance

  • BIHE was founded in 1987
  • In the first year of its establishment, 1987, students were accepted in two fields of studies, namely sciences and humanities
  • BIHE has five faculties with 5 associate programs, 18 undergraduate degree programs and 14 graduate programs
  • BIHE offers over 1050 courses ranging from Persian Literature to Applied Chemistry.
  • BIHE has a combined faculty and administrative staff of over 955 members
  • An average of 1000 students apply to BIHE every year
  • BIHE greatly benefits from its Affiliated Global Faculty (AGF) – an increasing resource of volunteer professors from around the world that assist with the development, implementation and instruction of the BIHE courses
  • BIHE uses a unique combination of online and offline learning
  • BIHE currently accepts about 450 students into its first-year programs
  • BIHE applicants must conform to the same rigorous academic standards as other students in Iran. They must pass the national entrance exam, and meet all the BIHE academic requirements
  • BIHE graduates have been accepted at more than 87 different university graduate programs outside of Iran (for a complete list of universities accepting BIHE graduates, please click here)
    BIHE Email: registrar.office@bihe.org

Although the Iranian government does not recognize the BIHE and its degree programs, BIHE has been able to ensure that universities outside Iran accept its students and recognize their studies. Please read the article published by Quartz that shares the story of one Bahá’í graduate who sought admission to the University of California Berkeley’s graduate school which requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. The University’s Dean of graduate studies chose to make an exception for BIHE and decided “that the requirement would not be held against student applying to be a student in graduate school at the University of California at Berkeley.” The student was admitted and later graduated with the Master’s degree, making her the first BIHE to be admitted to UC Berkeley.

We look forward to hearing news of more BIHE graduates having similar success stories.

Additional Reading & Links:

CNN “Iran Bans Underground University”

https://www.cnn.com/2011/11/10/world/meast/iran-bans-bahai-university/index.html

https://cedar.wwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1253&context=jec

Higher Education under the Islamic Republic: the Case of the Baha ’is, by Mina Yazdani

https://cedar.wwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1253&context=jec

Closed Doors, Bahá’í World News Service

http://news.bahai.org/human-rights/iran/education/bihe/

Baha’i Blog

http://bahaiblog.net/site/2016/05/notacrime-campaign-a-collection-of-street-art-part-2/

http://bahaiblog.net/site/2012/12/some-background-to-whats-been-happening-to-the-bahais-in-iran/

The Economist: The Bahá’í Faith

https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2017/04/19/the-bahai-faith

Why Yale and Columbia are accepting students from a university that holds classes in a basement in Tehran.

https://qz.com/934700/a-clandestine-university-has-been-educating-bahais-in-iran-for-30-years/

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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UC Davis Launches Digital Tool in Lebanon to Help Refugees Reclaim Right to Education

July 6th, 2018

ucdavisdocs

We wish to thank Professor Keith David Watenpaugh, Director of Human Rights studies at the University of California, Davis, for granting permission to share this post originally posted by Julia Ann Easley on June 12, 2018 in UC Davis’s Society, Arts & Culture News. Where necessary, ACEI has refreshed the post to include updates and new developments.

Jihad Qusanyeh, imprisoned and tortured as a student, will be among the first Syrian refugees to assemble a virtual “backpack” in a new project to help them reclaim their right to education. Article 26 Backpack, which uses face-to-face counseling and cloud-based technology to help refugees document and share their educational accomplishments, was launched in Lebanon beginning Friday, June 15.

The international consortium behind the project is led by Keith David Watenpaugh, a professor and director of Human Rights Studies at the University of California, Davis. Consortium members include the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, or AACRAO, and the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, or AUB.

jihad

Jihad Qusanyeh – Qusanyeh, a fourth-year student of applied chemistry at the University of Damascus when he was taken prisoner for five years, wants to complete his studies. “I always aim to learn more and more for when I return to Syria,” he shared in a video recorded to include in his backpack. “I’ll use what I learn for rebuilding Syria.”

Help to overcome challenges

About 36 percent of global youth have access to higher education but only about 1 percent of eligible refugees do, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. The ongoing Syrian civil war has internally displaced or made refugees of more than 12 million people, and hundreds of thousands among them were — or should have been — in university, Watenpaugh said.

Article 26 Backpack, a part of Global Affairs at UC Davis and supported by a $500,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, is named for the article that established the right to education in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, nearly 70 years ago.

Watenpaugh said the tool will help refugees overcome significant impediments to re-entering academic life or applying for employment — from problems accessing their own documents to little clarity about the transferability of their credentials.

backpack
Source credit: UC Davis

backpack-2

More About the Technology Behind the Backpack – “A lot of what we do is important, but this was another level of helping our fellow human,” said Shawn DeArmond, who supervised the UC Davis web development group.“

Watenpaugh envisions broader implementation of Article 26 Backpack throughout the Middle East, particularly in the areas most affected by the war in Syria, and beyond. Moreover, he sees the Backpack’s potential to help not only refugees of war or those fleeing civil conflict, but also students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, status in the United States and climate refugees.

The Lebanon launch
The first stage of the implementation was from June 15 through July 3. Watenpaugh and a team — including AUB students and faculty and AACRAO staff — visited refugee camps in the Bekaa Valley and hosted refugees elsewhere to help about 300 create backpacks.

A comic book will help introduce the Backpack to refugees. Trained students will help refugees set up backpacks at article26backpack.ucdavis.edu and upload documents including images of diplomas, transcripts and resumes. Backpackers have the option to record a video to serve as an oral statement of purpose. They control what they put in the backpack and with whom they share it.

Video Journals
Professor Watenpaugh has documented his recent Backpack Journey reflections in Lebanon through a number of videos. In this video, he asks: “What role can education play in the face of discrimination and prejudice? How can Article 26 Backpack as a humanitarian tool address this challenge?” For more, click here.

Future work
After nearly a month in Lebanon leading the initial implementation of Backpack, Watenpaugh returns to UC Davis Global Affairs to oversee the development of the next phase of this project. Work this summer will create an Arabic-language version of the tool, and in the early fall the project will be back in Lebanon to help more refugees set up backpacks.

In the future, Article 26 Backpack will integrate credential evaluation, academic counseling and job placement assistance through a feature called Compass. AACRAO, the higher education association, is building a cloud-based pool of international credential evaluators to assist refugee students and, in some cases, reconstruct academic histories that have been lost due to war.

A historian of the modern Middle East, Watenpaugh has seen up close the need for Article 26 Backpack. He has led a multidisciplinary research team that produced several major studies on Syrian students and scholars who are refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Greece and Turkey. His most recent book is the award-winning Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism.

To stay abreast of the Article 26 Backpack project, please follow Professor Watenpaugh on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Media contact(s)
Keith David Watenpaugh, Article 26 Backpack, +1 530-574-0815 cell (speaks English and Arabic), kwatenpaugh@ucdavis.edu
Mona Finucane, Article 26 Backpack, cell +1 707-673-7043 (speaks English and Arabic), mfinucane@ucdavis.edu
Annetta Stroud, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, strouda@aacrao.org
Hana Addam El-Ghali, Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, AUB, +961 71037300, ha58@aub.edu.lb
Julia Ann Easley, UC Davis News and Media Relations, 530-752-8248, cell 530-219-4545, jaeasley@ucdavis.edu

Media Resources
Press kit with photos and more
Video: Jihad Qusanyeh shares his story (3 min, 44 secs)
Comic Book Explains Project With Refugee’s Story
More About the Technology Behind the Backpack
Article 26 Backpack

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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