The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan resulted in one of the most severe human rights crises of 2021 and is still leaving deep traces on the Afghan society. Immediately responding to this crisis with what was within our means, the Global Campus established an ad hoc scholarship programme for threatened Afghans working or studying in the field of human rights. Through the programme, we supported 38 students and scholars, finding them a new academic home within the Global Campus network at universities in Poland, Romania, Germany, Italy, Thailand, Spain, Finland, Slovenia, and Austria. There, they have been able to continue their Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD studies, or receive research and teaching opportunities, under academic supervision and with monthly financial support. While we were constantly fighting our way through a labyrinth of visa procedures and other bureaucratic hurdles, seeing these scholars and students find safety, opportunities and hope at our member universities has been a rewarding experience and an important new programme of the Global Campus.
In addition to the scholarships, the Global Campus organised many further activities for continued learning and the creation of a strong network of human rights experts either from or working on Afghanistan. For example, we offered a new and tailored online certificate course as an “Introduction to Human Rights”. Four modules and three live webinars allowed for active exchange between the course participants and high-level human rights experts, including former Minister for Women’s Affairs and Right Livelihood laureate Sima Samar. Additionally, we began a virtual monthly speaker series during the academic year 2023-24. Please sign-up here to receive regular communication about it.
In March 2022, we were honoured to welcome to our headquarters in Venice the (now former) President of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, Shaharzad Akbar, and UN Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan, Richard Bennett. We organised a panel discussion together with our Italian university partners and Afghan human rights defenders living in Venice, as well as an online event for our global network.
More informally, we hosted a celebration for Nowruz (Persian New Year) in 2022 and 2023 at our headquarters, the Monastery of San Nicolò, which over a hundred Afghans from across Italy joined. These were important moments for creating a sense of connectedness among displaced Afghans and was accompanied by wonderful Afghan food and live music. In October 2022, the Monastery also became the location of a memorial organised by the Afghan students at GC Europe to remember the victims of the horrible bombing of the Kaaj Education Centre in Kabul and advocate against violence against girls in Afghanistan.
The programme will slowly phase out until summer 2025, providing our scholarship recipients the opportunity to fully settle and integrate at their host universities and create the right conditions for continuing their professional trajectories in exile.
Apologies, but we are not accepting any applications at the time.