Millions of Syrian have been affected by the war since 2011. Among other pressing humanitarian priorities, Syrian youth in particular are in danger of becoming a ‘lost generation’ due in part to the lack of available and affordable avenues for higher education within Syria and in host neighbouring countries.
Photo caption: Dr. Lina Al-Shabeeb, law professor, University of Jordan, speaking at the workshop.
This spring, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law launched a new project that aims to develop a human rights-based corps of Syrian legal practitioners who can contribute to shaping the future of post-conflict Syria.
“Ultimately, it is anticipated that the program will nurture a generation of future positive change-makers that also can take part in identifying solutions to refugee situations,” says Carla Boukheir, director of RWI’s regional office in Amman.
In order to summon the best and most interesting ideas for the program, the Institute recently held an expert roundtable discussion in Lebanon with nearly 30 regional and international human rights experts, university law academics, NGOs, and legal professionals from eight countries (Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, UK and Sweden).
The event allowed for participants to share experience and various success stories both on the regional and international levels and to provide inputs on the new Syria programme “Legal Education and capacity building for Syrian Refugees in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon”.
The participants provided input on a wide number of aspects of the programme, including general curricula, material content and capacity building modules as well as specific course modules that would cater to the specific Syrian context, the integration of gender equality and gender mainstreaming courses, different study plans that would include the integration of inhouse training modules utilizing human rights centres and legal clinics. The discussion also covered student admission and vulnerability criteria and qualifications of teaching staff and accreditation strategies.
“The aim of this programme is to create conditions for the provision of higher legal education that is formally accredited and recognised, complimented with skills-building programmes for the displaced Syrian population,” says Yasar Abduh, RWI programme officer in Amman. “While the programme is still in its inception phase, the experience and feedback shared by the partners present at this roundtable are key to a successful development of this programme.”
The participants also voiced the importance of creating experience sharing and knowledge platforms in the region to enhance the quality of all implemented programmes and to better serve the population of beneficiaries.
To this effect, two major universities in the region in Jordan and Lebanon (University of Jordan and Beirut Arab University) have decided to move forward on the above recommendation and initiate a task force and a coordination mechanism to explore future institutional and human resources cooperation between the two entities in close coordination of the RWI Regional Office in Amman.