Summit On Mobility and Immobility 0ctober 2023

From October 2 to 6, 2023, the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya bore witness to a remarkable event that transcended the boundaries of this isolated, challenging environment—the OSUN Summit. In the heart of Kakuma, a beacon of hope shone brightly, symbolizing a collective effort to champion education, empowerment, and the preservation of cultural heritage for the residents of Kakuma and the nearby Kalobeyei settlement.

The OSUN Summit at Kakuma Camp was a really important event that had a big impact on me and many other students from OSUN. It brought together a diverse group of people like OSUN Hubs facilitators, students, researchers, administrators, and others for a week. The goal was to help students interact and learn from each other experiences since they came from different institutions and backgrounds and encourage them to work together. The event was carefully organized and took place in the Kakuma refugee camp. It was a special experience for everyone who was involved in the summit.

The opening day of the summit was brimming with excitement as individuals from diverse backgrounds descended upon the camp, transforming it into a bustling hub of learning and cooperation. Aisha Khurram, in her inspiring address on “Student Leadership in Advocating for Opening Access for the Displaced,” set the tone for the event. Additionally, Manal Stulgaitis from UNHCR shared invaluable insights on “15by30 and Student Leadership,” emphasizing the importance of student involvement in advocating for better opportunities for the displaced.

The second day unfolded as a rapid of activities, featuring day-long workshops on civic engagement. The morning session, titled “What is Student Advocacy?” showcased powerful real-life stories of students who had made a difference, like Shukri Mohamed, Christian Baobab, Robert Claudio, Ibrar Mizrai (joining online), and Alamin Jebirin. These narratives underscored the profound impact that students can have on their communities. This day held a special place in my heart, as it allowed me to share my project on cultural diversity, which not only boosted my confidence but also allowed me to guide fellow students through a nearby market named Phase 2 in Kakuma. We even had the pleasure of visiting an Ethiopian Restaurant together and sharing a memorable moment over coffee. After lunch, a panel discussion delved into “Cultural Heritage,” underscoring the significance of preserving cultural traditions, especially within refugee camps. The day concluded with a workshop on “Setting the Stage for Cultural Heritage Preservation in the Kenya Refugee Camps,” inspiring all to take action.

Day three saw participants convene at the Cairo Palace Hotel for further discussions. Themes like “Refugee Capacity Building” and the “Politics of Displacement” were explored, shedding light on the complex issues that lead to forced displacement and the importance of international cooperation in addressing these challenges. This day of the summit was a powerful culmination, featuring a Design Thinking Workshop that challenged attendees to apply their knowledge to solve real-world problems. The discussions on student leadership and its potential to make a global impact wrapped up the event, culminating in the leadership training offered by the Civic Engagement Team, led by Brian Mateo and Caitlin.

For me, the summit represented a personal victory. It was my inaugural attendance, and I had the privilege of participating as both a panellist and a moderator simultaneously. This unique opportunity, set against the backdrop of Kakuma, was a pivotal moment in my life. My journey to the OSUN Summit serves as a testament to resilience and determination. Born in Somalia, my life took a dramatic turn when conflict forced my family to flee our homeland. At just 12 years old, I found myself seeking refuge in Kakuma Camp, alongside thousands of others.

Kakuma Camp became my refuge, offering safety from violence and instability. However, it also presented challenges, such as limited access to education, healthcare, and growth opportunities. My determination to overcome these obstacles led me to join the OSUN Hubs program right after high school. I am now a graduate of the Refugee Higher Education Access Program (RHEAP), with aspirations to further my education and study International Relations to contribute to the future of Somalia.

The OSUN Summit was a really important event for me. Held in Kakuma, my home for many years, it held a unique significance.

The summit provided a platform for participants to voice their thoughts and ideas. It was a space where our voices were heard. The event in Kakuma reminded us that even in a refugee camp, positive change and growth are achievable. My story serves as a testament that with determination and education, individuals can conquer even the most daunting challenges. In the end, we delved into the creation of “OSUN Students Voices for Refugees and the Global Refugee Forum,” recognizing the pivotal role students can play in advocating for refugees. We formed different groups and discussed building this initiative to act as the voices for the refugees and have representation in the global Refugee Forum. The formation of the OSUN Students Voices for Refugees is one of the biggest achievements we made at OSUN SUMMIT 2023.

After a week of hearing from amazing people and having meaningful conversations, the summit ended. Everyone who took part in it now knows more about the challenges refugees face, and they are determined to work together to make the world a better and more supportive place for them. The friendships formed and the knowledge gained will continue to guide us as OSUN Hubs students.

In summary, the OSUN Summit at Kakuma Camp was more than just an event; it was a spark for change. It showed that even people who have faced really tough times can be strong and full of potential. The summit allowed people to share their ideas, create new projects, and imagine a better future. It reminded us that, even in difficult situations like a refugee camp, people can shine when they are determined and have access to education. Looking ahead, the OSUN Students Voices for Refugees initiative will be a source of hope and a way to make a big difference in the world by supporting refugees. The OSUN Summit 2023 in Kakuma Camp was a testament to the enduring power of the human spirit and the potential for positive transformation even in the most challenging of circumstances.