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Educating Palestinian Refugees: The Origins of UNRWA’s Unique Schooling System

Irfan, AE; (2021) Educating Palestinian Refugees: The Origins of UNRWA’s Unique Schooling System. Journal of Refugee Studies , 34 (1) pp. 1037-1059. 10.1093/jrs/fez051. Green open access

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Abstract

This article examines the origins of the unique schooling system for Palestinian refugees run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Examining developments c. 1950–57, it illuminates the programme’s beginning and explores the objectives of those behind it. Using archival evidence from numerous international welfare organizations and testimonies from refugees themselves, this article argues that the parties providing education and the refugees receiving it often had conflicting objectives that were highly politicized on both sides. Despite the comparatively greater power and resources of the United Nations, the Palestinian refugees were able to make use of their limited leverage in order to shape the education system as they preferred. The UNRWA education programme thus serves as a revealing case study for explaining developmental aid to refugee populations and its inevitable intersection with politics.

Type: Article
Title: Educating Palestinian Refugees: The Origins of UNRWA’s Unique Schooling System
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/jrs/fez051
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/fez051
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, education, refugee camps, Middle East
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Arts and Sciences (BASc)
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10140826
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