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Opening Up Higher Education

Ongoing praxis around the pedagogies and politics of opening up higher education for displaced people.

I taught at, organised within, and finally served as Director (2019-23) for the Budapest branch of the Open Learning Initiative (OLIve). OLIve was set up in 2015 and ran at the Central European University. It provided informal and formal education for displaced people, including refugees and asylum seekers. CEU's leadership decided to close the iniative in 2023 in spite of record student applications and OLIve being primarialy externally funded. I am currently working with others to set up an independent OLIve.

OLIve's aims are to support students in:

  • developing their critical thinking

  • furthering skills and practical knowledge needed for (better) employment

  • building confidence, organizing and communication skills so students can be active citizens who set their own terms of inclusion and advocate for their and other’s rights

  • applying to full time university or college programs

  • succeeding in currently enrolled school or other education/training programs

  • exploring creative and artistic ways to understand and intervene in society

  • allowing inquisitiveness and curiosity to flourish in a university setting through being exposed to new disciplines, theories, and ideas

Opening Up the University: Teaching and Learning with Refugees

Together with Céline Cantat and Prem Kumar Rajaram we published an edited volume that

reflects on university access for students who have experienced displacement, what the varied responses of higher education to displaced learners can teach us about the boundaries of academic institutions, and how struggles over access for these students may lead to new openings.

It's open access and available here.

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