“We are still here”: the stories of Syrian academics in exile

Tom Parkinson (Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK)
Tarek Zoubir (University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)
Shaher Abdullateef (Cara Syria Programme, Cara, London, UK)
Musallam Abedtalas (Cara Syria Programme, Cara, London, UK)
Ghana Alyamani (Cara Syria Programme, Cara, London, UK)
Ziad Al Ibrahim (Cara Syria Programme, Cara, London, UK)
Majdi Al Husni (Idlib University, Idlib, Syria)
Fuad Alhaj Omar (Selçuk University, Konya, Turkey)
Hamoud Hajhamoud (Cara Syria Programme, Cara, London, UK)
Fadi Iboor (Cara Syria Programme, Cara, London, UK)
Husam Allito (Cara Syria Programme, Cara, London, UK)
Michael Jenkins (University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK)
Abdulkader Rashwani (International Sham University, Cairo, Egypt)
Adnan Sennou (Cara Syria Programme, Cara, London, UK)
Fateh Shaban (Cara Syria Programme, Cara, London, UK)

International Journal of Comparative Education and Development

ISSN: 2396-7404

Publication date: 20 August 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to generate insight into the experiences of Syrian academics in exile in Turkey; and second, to explore approaches to collaboration and community building among academics in exile and with counterparts in the international academic community.

Design/methodology/approach

The study employs a hybrid visual-autobiographical narrative methodology, embedded within a large group process (LGP) design.

Findings

Findings are presented in two phases: the first phase presents a thematic analysis of narrative data, revealing the common and divergent experiences of 12 exiled academics. The second phase presents a reflective evaluation of undertaking the LGP and its implications for community building and sustaining Syrian academia in exile.

Research limitations/implications

While this is a qualitative study with a small participant group, and therefore does not provide a basis for statistical generalisation, it offers rich insight into Syrian academics’ lived experiences of exile, and into strategies implemented to support the Syrian academic community in exile.

Practical implications

The study has practical implications for academic development in the contexts of conflict and exile; community building among dispersed academic communities; educational interventions by international NGOs and the international academic community; and group process design.

Originality/value

The study makes an original contribution to the limited literature on post-2011 Syrian higher education by giving voice to a community of exiled academics, and by critically evaluating a strategic initiative for supporting and sustaining Syrian academia. This represents significant, transferable insight for comparable contexts.

Keywords

Citation

Parkinson, T., Zoubir, T., Abdullateef, S., Abedtalas, M., Alyamani, G., Al Ibrahim, Z., Al Husni, M., Omar, F., Hajhamoud, H., Iboor, F., Allito, H., Jenkins, M., Rashwani, A., Sennou, A. and Shaban, F. (2018), "“We are still here”: the stories of Syrian academics in exile", International Journal of Comparative Education and Development, Vol. 20 No. 3/4, pp. 132-147. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCED-06-2018-0013

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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