JUHAN: The Power of Students
Our JUHAN students truly brought meaning to global citizenship this fall as they stood in solidarity with populations touched by humanitarian crisis as far afield as Syria and Wau, South Sudan to those closer to our shores in Haiti and through our continued commitment to rebuild Rockaway following Super Storm Sandy.
During the Spring 2016 semester, Janie Leatherman, PhD, taught Politics of Humanitarian Action, a gateway course for the Humanitarian Action Minor and a service-learning course. The course partnered with Scholars at Risk (SAR) to work on the case of Dr. Mohammad Hossein Rafiee, a retired Iranian chemistry professor imprisoned in Tehran since June 16, 2015. In September, the students received word that Dr. Rafiee was released after spending 15 months in Evin Prison.
“SAR is so grateful to Professor Leatherman and her students for their research and advocacy on this case,” said Clare Farne Robinson, Scholars at Risk Advocacy Director. “Their efforts were instrumental in moving Dr. Rafiee's case forward, and specifically led to inclusion of Professor Rafiee in a recent report by UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran. But beyond that, and perhaps most important, they provided much-needed hope to his family.” To learn more, please read Humanitarian Action Students Impact Human Rights in Iran.
JUHAN fellow, Sophia Bolanos ‘19, wrapped up the semester and its work eloquently with her quote in The Fairfield Mirror: “We, as students, sometimes forget how much power we have,” said Bolanos. “We have so many opportunities to spread the word about issues going on all over the world. We have opportunities to engage with influential people and inspire them to care and to take action. We are powerful and influential; we just need to remember that we can make a difference.”
Upcoming spring 2017 events include:
- In February, five students will join as delegates at the 2017 Winter Youth Assembly at the United Nations.
- In March, three students will experience life as humanitarian aid workers through the Atlantic Hope International Humanitarian Aid Field Training Exercise to be held at Indian River State College’s Treasure Coast Public Safety training Complex in Florida. Annie O’Neill ’17, a nursing major who attended Atlantic Hope two years ago through JUHAN, has been accepted as a staff member this year and will help to run the simulation.
- The Center will run two alternative spring breaks — our Annual Washington, D.C. Immersion Trip as well as the JUHAN service trip to work with newly resettled refugees through the International Rescue Committee in Abilene, TX.
In June, the Center will send a delegation of students, staff and faculty to the 2017 JUHAN Student Leadership Conference Principles in Crisis: Refugees and Responsibility hosted by the College of the Holy Cross.