Keith David Watenpaugh is Professor and Director of Human Rights Studies at the University of California, Davis. Since 2013, he has directed a multi-disciplinary international research program to assist refugee university students and scholars fleeing the war in Syria. He’s leading an effort to expand refugee access to higher education through something called the Article 26 Backpack project, supported by the Ford Foundation, which helps refugee students digitally store their academic credentials.
On February 27, 2018, Watenpaugh was at the American Academy as a Richard von Weizsaecker Distinguished Visitor, to deliver a talk about the marriage of his academic work, as a renowned historian of the Middle East, and as a person who cares deeply about the plight of people fleeing war. He sat down with American Academy president Michael Steinberg to discuss his work.