Dr. Keith Watenpaugh is a leading Middle East historian, expert on human rights, modern humanitarianism, genocide and the roles of refugees and displaced people in world history.
Watenpaugh is the founding director of the UC Davis Human Rights Studies Program, the first academic unit of its kind in the UC system. He has been a leader in international efforts to address the needs of displaced and refugee university students and professionals, especially those impacted by the wars and civil conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey. Watenpaugh teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in human rights, genocide and humanitarianism.
Since 2013, Watenpaugh has directed an international multi-disciplinary research project assisting refugee university students and scholars fleeing the war in Syria. He recently won the IIE Centennial Medal for his work.
Watenpaugh’s team developed the Article 26 Backpack™, The Universal Human Rights Tool for Academic Mobility and deployed it in the Middle East. The tool provides refugee youth with a way to safely store and share information like their educational background, employment history and professional achievements, with universities, scholarship agencies and employers.
Watenpaugh is the author of an award-winning book, Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism (California, 2015). His articles appear in publications around the world. Watenpaugh has lived and worked in Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Armenia, Iraq and Egypt.
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