Parami sophomore student and OSUN Global Engagement Fellow Myat Moe Kywe attended the OSUN Summit on Mobility and Immobility at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya in the first week of October and connected with student leaders and educators worldwide.
The blended event was co-hosted by the OSUN Hubs for Connected Learning Initiatives, the OSUN Civic Engagement Initiative (CEI), and Bard High School Early Colleges (BHSEC) and had participating faculty and students from 17 OSUN partners gathered at Kakuma Refugee Camp (Kenya) and the Bard High School Early College in the Bronx (New York, U.S.).
Students and faculty from Bard College Annandale, Bard College Berlin, European Humanities University, American University of Bulgaria, University of Witwatersrand, SOAS, Cambridge University, Al-Quds Bard, American University of Central Asia, Parami University, Sciences Po, Universidad de los Andes, BRAC University, and the American University of Beirut presented and participated. Participating students and faculty from the OSUN network also had a great opportunity to hear from participants from UNHCR, InZone (University of Geneva), Tertiary Refugee Students Network, Opening Universities for Refugees, and World University Service of Canada.
The event included workshops, panel discussions, research presentations around displacement, and advocacy by educators, researchers, faculty, and students. Myat Moe Kywe’s keynote panel discussion topic was about Understanding the Consequences of Illegal Mobility of Myanmar Migrant Workers in Thailand after the Military Coup.
“We had an important and critical discussion around the mobility and immobility issues across different countries, especially where we come from. Most student presenters raised topics of refugees, mobility issues, and empowerment efforts, and I talked about the aspect of immobility as well. Immobility means people want to move or have to move (to another place due to political or economic crisis or any other reasons they may have), but they cannot, like what is happening in Myanmar right now,” said Myat Moe Kywe, an undergraduate student at Parami University.
Although she does not have much on-ground experience working with a refugee camp or internally displaced people, Myat explained that the lessons and discussion on refugee policy and slavery in two courses, an English Composition class and a Seminar class she took at Parami University, made her interested in exploring more about refugees, IDPs, and especially marginalized communities.
Myat expressed that “the main key takeaway I learned from the event is to have a comparative analysis of issues from different refugee camps and what’s happening here and there. Compared to those in refugee camps in some other places, those in Kakuma Refugee Camps seem to have access to education opportunities like OSUN, for example, and access to other opportunities. Most students living in the Kakuma Refugee Camp are well-educated and have created some kind of civic engagement initiatives to empower their fellow refugees despite many limitations. It’s very inspiring to learn from them and their innovative ideas to address community concerns."
Apart from leading the Public Speaking Club at Parami University, Myat Moe Kywe is currently serving as the 2023 Global Engagement Fellows, in which she has a great opportunity to work together with undergraduate students from the Open Society University Network (OSUN) to coordinate civic engagement projects.