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Deliberative Democracy and Refugees: Ensuring they have a voice

Our PhD student Mohammad Abdul-Hwas shares his passion to study and research refugee crisis with UC's UnCover.

Mohammad's parents’ and grandparents’ lived experiences of the ongoing Palestinian refugee crisis, that has lasted the past 70 years, has created a deep empathy for refugees. Connecting with Syrian refugees in Jordan who have similar lived experience drove Mohammad to research deliberative democracy, with the ambition to improve the experience and agency for people caught in a refugee crisis.

Following multiple visits to Jordan – where his extended family is from – between 2012 and 2018, Mohammad’s interest and studies would pivot toward an underlying passion for refugee governance.  His visits took place shortly after the Syrian conflict escalated from the Arab Spring protests in 2011 – an event that displaced millions, many of whom have ended up in neighbouring countries.

He reached out to universities around Australia, looking to secure his PhD candidature in the space, including UC, and started reaching out to possible supervisors for his project. He succeeded in finding a supervisor ─ Dr Nicole Curato, Professor of Political Sociology within the University’s Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance.

“Connecting her areas of expertise – deliberative democracy and paying attention to vulnerable people in disaster contexts – gave me a foundation to approach my PhD project about the Syrian refugee crisis,” Mohammad says.

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