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AGS Hosts English Classes for Migrants and Refugees in Paris

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

singa_english_with_refugees_1st_class.jpgAGS is supporting an initiative to host weekly English language sessions for refugees and displaced persons in Paris, bringing together groups of refugees from diverse countries and backgrounds to the AGS classrooms in the heart of Paris.

The goal of this project is to not only provide these people with a skill that will help them connect with the local community and will boost their employability, but also offer a platform for cultural exchanges and the sharing of experiences.

Professor Mariam Habibi, who teaches the Middle East courses at AGS, originally started this initiative with the NGO  and has engaged AGS students to participate. “All the refugees have travelled far and have grueling stories to tell," she said. "These exchanges create a space where our students who are curious about the rest of world ‘travel’, meet and hear their experiences. I am extremely grateful to AGS that has given me the opportunity to start this project.”  

Edgardo Galindo (M.A. 2021) has committed his time to teach the group weekly, building on his own experience teaching foreign languages in the US. “One of the things that motivated me is that the population that I help through these English lessons are migrants from regions of the world that are undergoing conflict, especially from the Middle East, which is my area of specialization,” he said.“As I am going to pursue a career in International Relations, this gives me an opportunity to interact with people and cultures that I plan to interact with in the future. The students that I have met have shared their unique and often tragic stories, and given me an insight into the situation in their countries in a way that no book would portray. In any student-teacher relationship, there is learning exchange: I feel that I am already learning from them as much as I hope they are learning from me.

The next step is to expand this initiative to reach out to younger migrants through , a Paris-based NGO founded by AGS alumna Kryssandra Heslop (M.A. 2013), which seeks to support young refugees and unaccompanied minors through art and culture. She explains: “I started researching and writing about issues faced by unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors during my time at AGS.  It is a subject that I am still very passionate about today. This passion and my interest in children's rights are part of what inspired the creation of this non-profit organization. At Soul Food we believe that young migrants should be afforded the same opportunities as local youth. We also believe that art and culture can positively impact the world.  Language is an important part of culture. Joining these English classes at AGS will be a great way for them to practice and improve their English language skills, and in turn will hopefully open more doors for them in the future.”

 


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Ian Campbell USA
M.A., School of International Relations
Class of 2009

quote leftAGS has not only introduced and allowed me to explore the ideas of the scholars in the field, but also to explore my own ideas in the hopes that they become a part of the larger discipline.quote right

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