As universities in some parts of the world begin plans to return to campus-based instruction, students from conflict-ridden regions face ongoing challenges that far surpass the restrictions that governments imposed to control Covid-19.
While the pandemic crisis has highlighted digital inequalities worldwide, and the online pivot yielded some benefits for distance-based learners, students for whom the safe enclave of the university campus is an imperative part of the learning experience have received little attention. Populations worldwide have had to endure restrictions to freedom of movement, close contact, and activities that most have simply taken for granted like going to a library or to the cinema. But for some students, this is what life is like most of the time, not because of a pandemic, but because of decades-long occupation, apartheid, and land-theft.
In this event, we hear from students who must contend with these realities in their daily life. The range of reflections and accounts will focus on the lived experiences of Palestinian students who are living and studying while under occupation/annexation, apartheid and a pandemic. The event is framed as a student-oriented ‘listening exercise’ on how the digital university can be responsive and supportive to such students. This is particularly important in current times, in which distance-based modes of learning are being given more prominence. The testimonies of these students form a necessary part of how the digital university should rethink its role in our post pandemic conditions.
The themes covered will include:
- Studying under occupation and apartheid
- The intensification of restrictions due to Covid-19
- Travel restrictions for students who have no state
- Studying through isolation, anxiety, fear and grief
- Watching destruction of homeland while studying abroad
Mohammed Owaineh (doctoral student, Queen’s University Belfast, UK)
Shahd Qannam (doctoral student, University of London, UK)
Rawand Elhourr (doctoral student, Roehampton University, UK)
Bana Abu Al-Zuluf (doctoral student, Hanshin University, South Korea)
Iyad Hamdan (MA student, Birmingham University, UK)
Afnan Alostaz (doctoral student, Peter Grünberg Institute, Germany)
Ola Elian (Master’s student, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland)
Azza Abu Mandeel (Master’s student, University of Sussex)
The event will be chaired and facilitated by Dr Ibrar Bhatt and Dr Alison MacKenzie (Queen’s University Belfast, UK)