South West Asia and North Africa (S.W.A.N.A.) Forum for Social Justice
South West Asia and North Africa (S.W.A.N.A.) Forum for Social Justice (SWANA-FSJ) is a UCL student-led community that is open to academics and non-academics interested in issues of social justice in formal and nonformal education systems in the SWANA region. We use the more inclusive and geographic term S.W.A.N.A., and not Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Near East, Arab World or Islamic World as they are associated with colonial, Eurocentric, Orientalist and Arabocentric perspectives that have been hegemonising and restricting the region and dehumanising the people. We speak up for our indigenous diverse communities in seeking liberation and social justice. Members and guests of SWANA-FSJ aim to keep similarities and differences between countries, often reductively lumped together, in mind, when examining and drawing out practical opportunities for positive change in context.
The Forum invites UCL postgraduate students from the SWANA region, or anyone seeking to improve social justice in and through education in the SWANA region, to join us in sharing ideas, research and experiences that address issues of inclusivity and equality in ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, religion, ability and neurodiversity. Please contact us (details below) if you would like to join the forum as an active member or a visiting guest.
The Co-founders of SWANA-FSJ are:
Nidal Al Haj Sleiman (AFHEA)
A Lebanese PhD student at the Institute of Education’s Department of Learning and Leadership. Nidal’s research focuses on leadership practice, development, and social impact in international schools in England and Qatar. Her research areas include Bourdieu’s Social Theory, Critical Realism, internationalisation in pre-university contexts, social justice in education, and professional learning for school leaders and teachers. Nidal has published on leadership in international contexts and on issues of education in the Arab region.
Reem Ben Giaber
A Libyan-German PhD student at the Institute of Education’s Department of Learning and Leadership. Reem’s research interests include philosophy of education and political philosophy, and the role teachers may play in the democratisation and state-building process in Libya since the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011.
A Lebanese PhD student at the Institute of Education’s Department of Education, Practice and Society. Cyrine’s research interests include cultural learning and urban sociology. Her doctoral project focuses particularly on how street children construct their unique learning pathways in the urban spaces in Beirut. Cyrine is currently inactive in SWANA Forum for Social Justice.