A Different View: A Student Initiative Makes Refugees' Stories Heard

Memphis Blue is a student in the dual degree programme between Sciences Po and the University of Sydney. At the beginning of 2019, she was awarded the Davis Projects for Peace, which she used to launch the initiative “A Different View” in New South Wales, Australia. In this interview, she tells us about the project and her plans to expand it further.

You are studying in the dual degree programme between Sciences Po and the University of Sydney. What led you to choose this programme and how do the experiences at these two universities complement each other?

I chose the dual degree programme as it allowed me to combine my wide range of interests into one degree. I always knew I wanted to study Arabic and the Middle East, but at the same time I loved learning French and wanted to study different religions. The wide range of subjects provided at Sciences Po’s campus in Menton gave me a breadth of understanding and has subsequently helped me in narrowing down my interests at the University of Sydney.  

At the beginning of this year you were awarded the Davis Projects for Peace. Can you tell us about this grant and how it led you to launch your project "A Different View”?

The Davis Projects for Peace is an initiative connected to International Houses Worldwide where students are supported in starting an initiative for peace in any part of the world. A Different View is an organisation which facilitates talks given by individuals from refugee backgrounds. In these talks at high schools and community groups, the speakers explain where they come from and their experiences, giving participants the opportunity to understand to a greater extent what it means to be a refugee. The money from the grant has allowed me to undertake these talks at more than 10 schools so far and establish A Different View as an organisation, which will hopefully continue into the future. 

A Different View 2

What are the greatest challenges that you have come across while working on this project?

So far, the greatest challenge associated with A Different View has been learning how to establish it as an association. There is a lot of paperwork involved to allow it to operate and I feel like I have learnt so much going through this process. Recently A Different View became registered as a charity, which was fantastic, as that had been a long and repetitive application procedure. 

A Different View

What have you learned through this project? What has it brought you?

For me, the best part of A Different View is when students come up to the speaker after the talk has finished, and thank them personally for sharing their story. Many of the students have said that it has helped them understand so much more about the experiences of refugees. This is the most rewarding part of the programme, as it demonstrates to me the need for these kinds of activities to provide people the opportunity to learn about refugee experiences. 

What ambitions do you have for the future, for "A Different View" or another project?

In terms of A Different View, I hope to continue going to high schools in New South Wales Australia, and talking to more students about refugees. It would be fantastic if the organisation could grow larger, and branch further from schools into community groups, especially in rural areas of New South Wales. I plan to apply for government endorsement for A Different View, as this would mean that more schools would be attracted to the programme and request it to come to them. 

More information

Subscribe to News from Sciences Po

Paving the Way For A Green Future

Paving the Way For A Green Future

Eco-friendly, self-managed, and militant, PAVéS is an association committed to tackling questions on climate change at Sciences Po. But it is also well known by students for CAFéS, its ethical and solidarity-focused cafeteria run by students from the Paris campus. We met to talk with two of its members, Ilytie Piroit and Clémentine Sainclair, over an organic coffee. 

More
Yoga in Education: Tips on Stress Management

Yoga in Education: Tips on Stress Management

Sophie Flak, President of RYE France (Research on Yoga in Education) and lecturer at Sciences Po, has incorporated yoga breaks into her communication classes. In this video, she gives students tips to manage and help reduce stress, recenter focus, and aid concentration - tools that can be applied in academia as well as in the professional or personal realms.

More
FEMPO: Period-Proof Underwear Made in Sciences Po

FEMPO: Period-Proof Underwear Made in Sciences Po

FEMPO are the first period-proof underwear made in France. When Fanny Abes, at the time a third-year student in Vancouver, met Claudette Lovencin, the idea for the product was born. They are now both Sciences Po graduates. We met with them to speak about their career paths and business.

More
Ecological Transition: Sciences Po Launches a Three-Year Action Plan

Ecological Transition: Sciences Po Launches a Three-Year Action Plan

In the face of a climate in crisis and a planet experiencing profound ecological disruption, Sciences Po has set itself an ambitious three-year action plan. This plan will form one part of the much wider Climate Action: Make It Work initiative, launched in 2015. It responds to the institution’s obligations as both a place of study and work and a centre for teaching and learning, in Paris and across the six regional campuses.

More
Support for Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal

Support for Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal

Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal, both researchers at the Sciences Po Center for International Studies (CERI), were arrested in Iran in early June 2019. Since then, they have been held in detention without valid legal grounds. On 31 January, 2020, the CERI organised a conference, "Captives Without Cause", aimed at contributing to the mobilisation for their release and raising awareness on the various issues (diplomatic, political, intellectual and human) linked to their detention. Many researchers, but also public figures familiar with the issue of arbitrary arrests and hostage situations were present.

More

"Rethinking International Relations"

Betrand Badie is the author of Rethinking International Relations, a thought-provoking book in which he argues that there has been a shift in the major IR paradigms and that ignorance of such transformation is a cause of conflict and instability. Professor Badie answers our questions on his understanding of the discipline, on its transformations, on issues of power and nostalgia…

More
Social Sciences Through the Prism of Gender

Social Sciences Through the Prism of Gender

PRESAGE, Sciences Po’s Research and Educational Programme on Gender Studies, was created in 2010. With the triple aim of promoting gender-related research, developing the university’s curriculum, and disseminating knowledge within the field, PRESAGE was among the first cross-cutting, interdisciplinary research programmes dedicated to gender studies in France. Meet its founders, Hélène Périvier et Françoise Milewski, both researchers at the Paris-based Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques (OFCE). 

More