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Decolonising Education: Cosmologies of a Palestinian Refugee Camp

Decolonising Education: Cosmologies of a Palestinian Refugee Camp

Date(s) - 09/15/2022
8:00 am - 9:30 am

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Decolonising Peace for Education in Africa

Online event,

The DEPA (Decolonising Peace Education in Africa) webinar series aims to promote dialogue on Africa’s diverse theoretical, conceptual, and methodological perspectives. Our next speaker is Yafa El Masri.

15 September, Thursday, 13:00 UK and Nigeria time, 14:00 South Africa and Zimbabwe time.

Indigenous groups around the world are still resisting coloniality over their lives, lands and education through various and unique methods. Decolonial pedagogies such as that of Freire, Sakakini and Fasheh, emphasize the importance of decolonizing education as a means of liberating the human and the land, but they also emphasize the role of the community, place, and alternative forms of learning in challenging the Eurocentric domination on education. Palestinian refugee communities today are facing great difficulty in expressing their knowledge through Humanitarian-aid educational institutions. So how can Palestinian refugees decolonize their own educational process to provide their children with an education that meets their needs, tells their story, and responds to their unique livelihood? Through autoethnographic recordings and unstructured interviews conducted in the Bourj Albarajenah refugee camp, I attempt to interpret the mode in which Palestinian refugees decolonize their education through their own camp cosmologies. It is these complex entanglements between memory, dreams, social reality, and community, that shape the children’s understanding of approaches towards livelihood and wellbeing. Through conviviality, human and spatial reproductions of a past home in the present one, a relationship with the home in mind and the home in transit, grows a mechanism of place-based learning where children learn by listening, seeing, living, doing, and being. And because this learning truly responds to the unique worlds of children, recognizing these various cosmologies as educational tools become crucial to attaining a more inclusive education.

Yafa El Masri is a Ph.D. candidate in Geography at the joint Ph.D. program in Historical, Geographical, and Anthropological Studies at the University of Padova, University of Verona and Venice Ca Foscari University. She holds a Master’s of Science in Local Development from the University of Padova and a graduate of the Galilean school of higher education (school of excellence), class of Social sciences. Her research utilizes autoethnographic recordings and focuses on refugee spaces and community-based livelihoods. She has recently published “72 Years of Homemaking in Waiting Zones: Lebanon’s “Permanently Temporary” Palestinian Refugee Camps” in Frontiers in Sociology (open access), in addition to the paper of the same title of this Webinar, published in Globalizations.


Decolonising Education: Cosmologies of a Palestinian Refugee Camp image

Spray paint on a wall in Bourj Albarajenah refugee camp. Translation: Beloved Palestine. Source: Shatha Abdulal, 2020



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