Winter 2022 Short Courses


The Center for Migration and Refugee Studies (CMRS) at the American University in Cairo (AUC) is offering the following three short courses during the months of February and March 2022

International Refugee Law

( February 27 – March 3, 2022)

Instructed by Parastou Hassouri, an independent consultant/researcher.

Return Migration Revisited

( March 6 – March 10, 2022)

Instructed by Carlos Abaunza, CMRS research affiliate, the American University in Cairo


Psychosocial Issues and Interventions for Refugees and Migrants

(March 7,8 10, 14 -15, 2022)

Instructed by Kate Ellis, assistant professor of Psychology, the American University in Cairo.

Courses Description


  • The course will provide post-graduate students, international agency staff, NGO workers, lawyers, and others working with refugees or interested in refugee issues with an introduction to the international legal framework and the broader institutional regime which govern the protection of refugees.  Through lectures, guest speakers are drawn from around the region, group exercises, simulations, and small group discussions, course participants will learn about the basic features of international refugee law through the lens of the legal and policy frameworks governing refugee protection in Egypt, looking at the elements of the definition(s) of refugee, who is excluded from the definition, the role of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the process by which refugee status is determined, the rights of refugees under international law, the ethical and professional obligations of those representing refugees, and other issues of refugee policy.  A background in law is useful but not required.

    About the Instructor

    Parastou Hassouri,  Refugee & Migration Law Consultanthas previously taught international refugee law at the American University of Cairo and has extensive experience in the field of international refugee law and refugee and immigrant rights and migration policy. Parastou has served as a consultant with different UNHCR operations in the Refugee Status Determination, Resettlement, and Protection Units in Morocco, Turkey, Jordan, and the Russian Federation, as well as serving as a research consultant for NGO's including the Global Detention Project, where her research focused on migration-related detention in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. 

    Prior to that, as a consultant for Human Rights First, she conducted extensive research on the resettlement of Iraqi refugees out of the Middle East to third countries.  She has worked as a Legal Advisor and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Focal Point at Africa and Middle East Refugee Assistance (AMERA) in Cairo.  Her experience in the United States includes serving as an Attorney-Advisor at the Immigration Courts of New York City and Los Angeles and working as an immigration attorney in private practice in New York City.  In addition, she designed and directed the Immigrant Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, where she focused on responding to ethnic profiling and other forms of anti-immigrant backlash in the United States in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11.  She also occasionally writes on the topic of refugee and migration policy.  


  • The current approach to working on the promotion and assistance to return migration operates under a fairly out-of-date framework which is mostly based on the push and pull approach. This narrow and improper conceptualization of return migration may lead to a response that harms and neglects return migrants themselves, and to the loss of opportunities that otherwise could be integrated into a coherent action to drive development and integration. This 5-day intensive course on return migration will provide participants with a new analytical framework that replaces the current push and pull approach with a transnational perspective. The course will start with an exploration of theories and practices on return migration, leading to an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses in the current response framework; this will be followed by a discussion on how to improve the response mechanisms that will leave no one behind. Then, we will introduce and learn to operationalize new categories of analysis in order to boost transnational and translocal synergies, which could lead to a more effective and efficient response where return migration can be a driver for development and migrant reintegration.


    About the Instructor

    Carlos Abaunza is a research affiliate for the Center for Migration and Refugee Studies at the American University in Cairo. As an academic and social scientist, he encompasses an interdisciplinary background that brings together the Humanities and Social Sciences. He has obtained degrees in Education, Literature, Communication, along with a Ph.D. in Sociology and Anthropology. Over the past 10 years, Carlos has focused his efforts on studying migration, violence, and human development, and, in this context, has conducted multidisciplinary research in various capacities, including research for an international project on public health, gender-based violence and statelessness, developed by Johns Hopkins University and OBMICA in the Dominican Republic (2015). As a junior researcher, he directed the elaboration of the first Migratory Profile of the Dominican Republic (2017), and co-authored the chapter on “Migration and human, social and economic development; employment and labor market; health and environment”. In 2019, he defended his Ph.D. dissertation on transnational return migration, and since then he continues working on different research projects and publications.

  • In a world where nearly 20 people are forcibly displaced every minute as a result of conflict or persecution,” UNHCR (2017), the crisis became epidemic in catastrophic proportions.  It is widely recognized that the face of this crisis and the refugee landscape has changed greatly over the last decade.  Refugees are less often concentrated in the traditional camps, and more often are living in urban areas, especially large cities.  This change in the landscape adds further psychosocial issues to consider, particularly, integration into communities and access to resources.  Most of the guidelines and recommendations for psychosocial interventions are directed at those refugees living in camps, and it is recognized that this needs urgent addressing. This course aims to bring those working with refugees and forced migrants together to develop a greater understanding of the needs, experiences, psychosocial and mental health interventions available to this ever-growing and under-serviced population, with a particular focus on displaced individuals living in urban areas. Whilst many refugees have strong resilience and cope effectively, others in more vulnerable situations are less able to, and are at increased risk of mental health and social problems.  Those with existing mental health issues are at great risk of the worsening and prolonging of such issues, given the circumstances in which they find themselves and a lack of access to appropriate resources. This course will also familiarize participants with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Guidelines on mental health and psychosocial support in emergency settings.  The levels of interventions will be explored focusing on psychological first aid, basic counseling skills, and the identification and sharing of referrals and cases.

    The course will adopt a hybrid modality where the first two days will be in person for those who can attend the course and virtually via zoom for those who are unable to join face to face, the rest of the course will be carried out virtually via ZOOM platform.


    About the Instructor

    Kate Ellis is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the American University in Cairo.  She is a qualified clinical psychologist who completed her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Canterbury Christ Church University, in England.  Professor Ellis works predominantly with refugees and individuals who have experienced trauma.  Her research focuses on the impact of violence and conflict, with a particular focus on young people, which was the focus of her first PhD awarded by the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland.  Professor Ellis is also the course coordinator of the Leadership in Mental Health course, Eastern Mediterranean Region, held annually at the AUC.   This course was developed in collaboration with the WHO, in order to provide training to mental health professionals in the region, with the aims of up-scaling mental health services and putting mental health on the national health agenda in under-resourced countries and low economic status countries.  Professor Ellis has been practicing in Egypt as a clinical psychologist at the Maadi Psychology Center, as well as, providing training to mental health professionals in both governmental and NGO settings within Egypt.

Eligibility for all courses

Requirements: The courses are offered for graduate and postgraduate students, researchers as well as practitioners working in migration-related fields. A minimum knowledge of displacement and migration terminologies and context is a requirement for participation in any of the three courses.

The first two courses are offered face to face, the third course will adopt a hybrid modality where the first two days will be in person and the rest of the course will be carried out virtually via ZOOM platform. The on-site courses will take place at AUC Tahrir campus. All courses are conducted in English and no translation facilities are provided.  As such, applicants must have a strong command of the English language. Each course will run for 5 days from 9 am till 4 pm (Cairo Local Time) with an hour break.

Interested applicants can apply for one course or for the three courses.

Number of Participants: minimum of 12 in each course.


Deadline for submitting applications: February 27, 2022.

Tuition Fees

  • The fee for International participants is $ 500 per course.
  • The Fee for Egyptians is EGP 2500.

Participants are expected to pay the total fees for each course before attending that course.

More information on payment methods will be provided to accepted participants.

Application Information

To apply for the courses you need to:

Applicants may apply to and be accepted in all courses. Please do not hesitate to contact if you have any difficulty with the application process.

Applicants accepted for the course will be notified by email within a week after the deadline for submitting the application.