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Copyright: UNRWA

Exeter Student Project at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

A new student-centred project showcases its research on UNRWA - the largest agency of the UN system protecting the rights of Palestinian refugees. Students who signed up for the MA module on work placement (POLM085) and the undergraduate module on Research Experience (POL3231) have been working on collating data on the UN agency in order to publish a series of Briefing Papers. The website – UNRWA in Focus - is now online and accessible to the public.

The UNRWA in Focus Briefing Papers are short and concise but provide useful overviews of a range of issues. The emphasis will be on comparative aspects of the topic, relating the activities of UNRWA to either other UN institutions, other international NGOs, or other small states, in order to explore the notion of UNRWA as a significant political actor in the Middle East.

The UNRWA in Focus “team” is led by Professor Mick Dumper and comprises Jack Williams-Sharkey (MA), Ela Oldfield and Alex Westlake. Mick Dumper is researching for a book on UNRWA and its role in the Middle East conflict and peace process. The UNRWA in Focus Briefing Papers are part of the assessed work for the students involved.

UNRWA - the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East- was established by the UN General Assembly in 1949. It was entrusted with the task of providing relief services to Palestinian refugees who had fled their homes in the areas of Palestine which had become part of the new Israeli state. Currently, it administers 59 refugee camps and employs over 30,000 people. In addition to emergency relief, it provides basic health, education, and social services, and legal protection for nearly 6 million Palestinian refugees, or about three-quarters of the entire Palestinian refugee population, residing in the five areas of the Agency’s operation: The Gaza Strip, West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.

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