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The Talloires Network and Open Society University Network are pleased to host workshops organized by engaged research scholars as part of the Amplifying the Voices of Engaged Researchers initiative. This community of practice has met regularly to share ideas and strategies for engaged scholarship across geo-political boundaries, create new and lasting ties among engaged researchers, and organize online workshops for engaged scholars around the world.

Educational Intervention in Vulnerable Contexts: Case Studies in Palestine, Afghanistan, South Africa, and Myanmar

Date: 28 February, 2024, 9:00 -10:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

This event will provide simultaneous interpretation in Spanish to English and English to Spanish.

This webinar will have a special focus on the well-being of vulnerable groups such as women, children, and refugees. The discussion will also explore the impact of formal and informal educational intervention programs in mitigating the adverse effects of challenging living conditions on these groups. The webinar will be organized as an academic presentation (15 minutes) followed by an open discussion with the participants (5 minutes).The webinar will cover topics related to individual well-being in different parts of the world. These include: how exposure to conflict-related events affects child behavior in Palestine, the impact of non-physical disciplinary methods on primary school dropout rates in Afghanistan, a community-based model of collective filmmaking pedagogy that familiarizes local youth with accessible animation techniques in South Africa, and bridging gaps in fragile contexts through online courses to further education opportunities in Myanmar. Learn more.

Moderator: Sameh Hallaq, PhD, Al-Quds Bard College, Al-Quds University

Sameh Hallaq is an assistant professor in the economics program at Al-Quds Bard College, Al-Quds University. Dr. Hallaq is a Research Associate at Levy Economics Institute at Bard College, New York (USA). He obtained his PhD in economics at the University of Wuppertal, Germany, in 2019. His published research has consistently focused on the theme of "Human Capital," where he explores the determinants of early life intervention: education, health, and well-being, within the Palestinian context:  a highly unstable political and economic environment accompanied by a violent conflict. Also, he investigates how these factors shape later life consequences, such as educational attainment, labor market outcomes, wages, and employment.


Belal Fallah, Professor, Palestine Polytechnic University
Dr. Belal Fallah is an Associate professor of Economics at Palestine Polytechnic University, Hebron, Palestine. He earned his PhD in Economics in 2008 from University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Dr. Falah has worked as a Director of Research at Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute-MAS. His research interests and expertise cover development economics, policy evaluation, labor economics, and conflict economics. During the past years, Dr. Fallah published a number of papers in international refereed journals such as Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Economic Geography, Labor Economics, Papers in Regional Science, and Annals of Regional Science, Defense and Peace Economics, among other journals.

Yousuf Daas, PhD student, Kobe University, Japan.

Mr. Yousuf Daas is a PhD student from Palestine with a commitment to advancing education and development economics. Holding a Bachelor's degree in Education, a Master’s of Science degree in Anthropology and Development Studies from KU Leuven, Belgium, a Master's degree in Economics and currently pursuing his doctoral studies at Kobe University under MEXT scholarship, his research interests converge at the intersection of Education Development, Education Economics, and Labour Economics. Daas conducted an internship at the Ministry of Education in Vientiane, Laos, which provided him with firsthand exposure to international educational systems, enriching his perspectives and informing his academic inquiries. Additionally, he did an internship at Bard College at Al-Quds University, which further demonstrated his ability to engage with diverse academic communities and contribute meaningfully to scholarly discourse. His professional experience includes working as a consultant for the European Mission to Palestine, where he played an important role in advising on educational strategies and policies.

Mocke Jansen Van Veuren, University of the Witwatersrand

Mocke Jansen van Veuren is an educator, experimental filmmaker, animator and researcher born and working in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is currently developing a PhD study focusing on community-based digital film and animation pedagogies and filmmaking as social praxis. His artistic work includes collaborations as Video Artist with choreographer and performer Nelisiwe Xaba. Their work Uncles & Angels, performed in over 25 cities worldwide, was awarded the FNB Art Prize in 2013, and Fake N.E.W.S has been developed as a collaborative education and performance platform with iterations in Bonn, Germany, Wits University, Constitution Hill, Cape Town’s Centre for the Creative Arts, and the National Arts Festival between 2019 and 2023. Van Veuren currently works as a lecturer and Deputy Head of Department at the Wits Department of Film and Television, consults for KZN Film Commission, and is an Executive Board Member for Animation South Africa. He develops and runs community-based film and animation education programmes in Kliptown and Eldorado Park as part of the Beehive Culture Worx Collective. He will co-present his research with his colleagues Prince Massingham, Neo Monyamane, and Rashid Juma.

Mia Sasaki, Parami University
Mia Sasaki currently works as faculty of General Education at Parami University. Mia's first years as an educator were with Teach for America, serving as a teacher in an inner-city school. After studying International Education Development at University of Pennsylvania, Mia has had the honor of working with students from across Asia, teaching in Myanmar, Thailand, and Bangladesh. Prior to Parami, she worked as the Academic Lead for American English Myanmar-Parami English Language Initiative. She has published papers on education in emergencies and on migrant learning centers along the Thai-Myanmar border. Mia's work stems from the belief that students can and do shape a better future.

Saw Yan Naung, Parami University

As a teacher at Parami University-Community Higher Education Initiative (CHEI), Saw Yan Naung creates a safe, welcoming, and comforting learning environment that facilitates students to question and grow. His journey in the field of education is marked by a genuine dedication to empowering students with knowledge and skills that extend beyond the classroom. Prior to his role at Parami University-CHEI, he served as a Senior Program Instructor and Program Coordinator in non-profit organizations within Myanmar's education sector. In these capacities, he developed and facilitated courses for youth, coordinated with diverse stakeholders, including tea-shopowners/managers, local CSOs, teachers, and out-of-school children and youth (OOSCYs) from tea-shops/restaurants and underprivileged communities, and set up non-formal education (NFE) and vocational education classes for OOSCYs, contributing significantly to the enhancement of the quality and accessibility of non-formal education in Myanmar. As an educator, Saw Yan Naung believes in the transformative power of education to unlock the potential within each student. As a commitment to continuous learning and professional development, he is currently pursuing an MA in English Language Teaching (ELT) from Thammasat University in Thailand. He is a life-long learner and believes that one should do what one can for the betterment of the community and the world. When not teaching, Saw Yan Naung can be found at home either playing guitar or watching a movie.

Working with Professionals to Develop Skills: Integrating Academic and Endogenous Knowledge

Date: 13 March, 2024, 9:00 -10:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

This event will provide simultaneous interpretation in Spanish to English and English to Spanish.

The purpose of this workshop is to reflect about the pedagogical, epistemological, methodological and political implications of working with communities to improve or develop professional skills in engaged research processes. The six presenters are developing projects which involve training members of the community to apply certain techniques.

We will discuss how our projects address the following dilemmas: How can we develop professional skills in ways that preserve and nurture indigenous / endogenous wisdom? How do we deal with moral, practical or technical discrepancies about professional work between academic researchers and local practitioners? In what way is the introduction of methods or techniques in local communities colonialist, and what cautions should we take to prevent epistemological colonialism?


Félix Díaz
Félix Díaz (BSc Psychology, 1991, PhD Psychology, 1994) is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the American University in Bulgaria. He formerly taught for 18 years at the University of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain). He has published a monograph on the problematics of body image, a text on qualitative assessment techniques in Speech and Language Therapy, a guidebook for dementia caregivers, and dozens of papers and chapters in the fields of mental health, qualitative social research methods and analyzing common and impaired conversation. He is interested in applying qualitative methods to understanding and improving life with disability.

Catalina Muñoz
Catalina Muñoz (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania) is Associate Professor of history at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. Her most recent publication is the book A Fervent Crusade for the National Soul: Cultural Politics in Colombia, 1930-1946 (Lexington Books, 2022). She was appointed Visiting Research Scholar at Princeton University’s Program for Latin American Studies for the spring 2023, Member of the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ) in the fall 2022, and was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the Humanities Action Lab in Rutgers University-Newark in the fall 2017.  A public historian, her research and practice examine the relevance of historical thinking and longue durée analysis to transitional justice, a field traditionally dominated by lawyers. In the context of the 2016 peace accords in Colombia, Muñoz co-founded Historias para lo que viene, a public history project that has implemented programs to enrich the public debate about peace in Colombia from a historical perspective.

Miguel Angel Castañeda
Miguel Angel is a professional in Languages and Cultural Studies from Colombia. He is a researcher on migration, climate change, humanitarianism, development policies, and decoloniality, and collaborates with various social and activist processes in Colombia against mining, and in defense of collective goods, and food sovereignty of the people. He is currently attending Bard College, where he is pursuing a Master's degree in Human Rights and the Arts.

Patricio Belloy
Patricio’s work explores how environmental, energy, and climate policies can concurrently support community development by means of needs-based approaches that promote knowledge co-production and meaningful engagement with local anchor institutions. He earned a BBA from Austral University of Chile, a Master of Science in Public Policy from UMass Boston, and a Master of Arts in Global Studies from Leipzig University in Germany and Wroclaw University in Poland. Patricio is a former MIT Mel King Community Fellow and a current PhD Candidate in Public Policy at UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School.

Martina Jordaan
Martina Jordaan serves as the Head of Community Engagement Research and Postgraduate Studies at the University of Pretoria Mamelodi campus. She actively collaborates with the Historical Society of Mamelodi and the Mamelodi Collaborative and contributes to providing skills training for early childhood development phase practitioners. In the past, Martina was responsible for a compulsory undergraduate module called Community-Based Project, which was part of the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment, and IT at the University of Pretoria. She holds a doctorate in History and a Masters's in Development Study. She served as the head of the Education Museum in Pretoria. During her tenure with the Gauteng Department of Education, Martina was responsible for the development of preschool teachers in the informal settlement close to Pretoria and in the skills development of staff at several schools in Pretoria.

Mónica Lucía Espinosa Arango
Mónica Espinosa Arango is Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Universidad de Los Andes (Colombia).  She works in the sub-fields of political and environmental anthropology.  The approach called “the double ecology” (ecology of life and political ecology) applies multispecies ethnography and engaged and community based participatory research to questions on the arts of living in complex volcanic lifeworlds in the neotropics.  She leads projects on anthropology of life, social memory, and rural women resilience as a member of the interdisciplinary group Ecological History and Social Memory, based at Uniandes.  She also works closely with the Flor de Mayo Association along with the active collaboration of rural families inhabiting the vicinity of the Volcanic Complex Doña Juana – Cascabel in Las Mesas (Nariño). 

Past Workshops:

Strengthening Museum Networks for Social Transformation, an Invitation from Colombia

Watch the recording here, available in both English and Spanish:



Museums and institutions dedicated to memory recognize their potential as platforms for citizen engagement, but we are indebted to building bridges among ourselves to strengthen our role as tools for the transformation of society. What unites us, what is the extent of the diversity that makes us rich, and what can we learn from each other, are questions we propose to address to shape a strong collective of solidarity. The Colombian Alliance of Museums invites global researchers, museums, and initiatives in the service of memories and heritage to join this conversation and envision a collaborative path forward.

Learn more.

Tackling Barriers of Access to Basic Education in Africa – Experiences of Engaged Scholars from South Africa, Uganda & Kenya


Date: May 19, 2023 at 8:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Spanish: Abordar las barreras de acceso a la educación básica en África: experiencias de académicos comprometidos de Sudáfrica, Uganda y Kenia

This event will provide simultaneous interpretation in Spanish to English and English to Spanish.

In this workshop, three Engaged Research Fund recipients in Africa will address the barriers to access to education in their countries. Peter Kirira will give insights on how an intervention to support primary school pupils in low resourced communities in Kenya to access safe drinking water in school has contributed to students’ academic performance and school attendance rates. Joseph Oloba & Martha Awati will focus on financial literacy in the North Bukedi Sub-region of Uganda. Financial literacy is a crucial life skill that impacts mental health, the education experience, and the long-term quality of life. Martina Jordaan will reflect on the education pathways at the University of Pretoria, Mamelodi campus, and the project she is doing with the Historical Society of Mamelodi.

Read more about this workshop.

Empowering Gender Equality through Public Art: Engaged Learning and Communities of Practice for Effective Gender Policy Briefs in Kyrgyzstan

Watch the workshop here!


Spanish: Empoderando la igualdad de género a través del arte público: aprendizaje comprometido y comunidades de práctica para resúmenes de políticas de género eficaces en Kirguistán

Date: Apr 20, 2023 08:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


This event provided simultaneous interpretation in Spanish to English and English to Spanish.

This workshop provides a case study on using public art as a powerful tool for addressing gender issues in decision-making positions in the arts community and society in general. Participants will discuss how to use artistic practices and policy briefs on gender equality in public art and collaborate with others who are passionate about promoting social justice and equality. The workshop will emphasize the importance of public art as a tool for social change and aim to address gender inequality in the arts community. Participants will strengthen their understanding and skills in creating policy briefs and have the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals to continue advocating for positive change in their communities. This workshop is an opportunity for educators, artists, and activists to come together and reflect on engaged learning and the importance of a community of practice, and the power of public art to address gender issues in the context of Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia. The workshop will be moderated by Engaged Research Fund recipient Ruslan M. Rahimov, an anthropologist at the American University of Central Asia, and include fellow Engaged Research Fund recipient Jarkyn Shadymanova, sociologist, and co-author of the research. The workshop will include community partners and AUCA students Udukenova Kymbat, Askarbekova Sezim, Almazbekova Aizada, and Egemberdieva Aliia. Other participants include Diana Ukhina, a researcher, artist, curator and head of the SYNERGY creative workshop and the Bishkek School of Contemporary Art (BiSCA) as well as Jazgul Madazimova, an artist primarily interested in public and social practice art.

Read more about this workshop.

Connecting Dots: Entangling Experiences of Women from Colombia and Afghanistan in Peace-building

Watch the workshops below!


Spanish: En(RED)ando Saberes de Mujeres: Experiencias de mujeres de Colombia y Afganistán para la construcción de paz.

Date: Tuesday March 14 2023 at 10:00 am EDT (UTC-4) (9:00AM UTC-5)

This event provided simultaneous interpretation in Spanish to English and English to Spanish.

This forum will elevate the voices and lived experiences of women who are building and enhancing community networks capable of facing challenges of violence and injustice. It will examine the potential and difficulties that each community has discovered in developing its own networks from Montes de María and El Huila in Colombia, as well as Nadia Amanyar and Shakila in Afghanistan. The forum will be moderated by three Engaged Research Fund recipients Sooriya Arya (American University of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan), Diana Ordoñez Castillo (Universidad de Los Andes, Columbia), and Carol Montealegre (Bard College, United States).

Community Participants include representatives from Colectivo de Comunicaciones de Montes de María (Colombia), Asomhupaz Asociación de Mujeres Huilenses por la Paz (Colombia), and Uzgarish Cultural and Women Organization (Afghanistan).

Read more about this workshop.