Spread the Word for Afghanistan: Using the Article 26 Backpack and Supporting the AUAF

August 23, 2021
  • Displaced & Vulnerable Students
  • International
  • International Admissions and Credential Evaluation
  • A26BP

Resources for displaced students and the institutions that serve them

As an association committed to a richly diverse, globally interconnected community of higher education professionals and in light of the disturbing situation in Afghanistan, AACRAO once again asks our members and the community at large to get involved.

In 2019 we released the Inclusive Admissions Policies for Displaced and Vulnerable Students report, which provides guidance and best practices to support displaced students. Use this report for strategies to prepare for incoming students.

Additionally, below are two updates from the University of California - Davis and the American University of Afghanistan to get involved today:

From the University of California-Davis


Afghan college students and recent graduates should use the UC Davis Backpack for universal academic mobility to curate and store critical academic documentation before the Taliban destroy or sequester those records or they choose to leave the country. 

Problem:

The scenes from Afghanistan are heartbreaking and I’m sure you share my concerns for the Afghan people – I know I’m especially concerned for those young people and professionals who have embraced the human rights idea and are now facing the loss of their human rights, basic dignity, and livelihoods.

The control of Afghanistan by the Taliban will lead to the destruction of the country’s modern system of higher education, especially the human right to education for the country’s women and ethnic and religious minorities. These young people will be among those choosing to leave the country if they can and add to the world’s 80 million displaced peoples and refugees by doing so.

One area of critical risk is Afghans’ access to academic and professional documentation. It is likely that the Taliban will destroy academic records and limit or deny access to those materials to women and dissidents altogether. 

Possession of these records is critical. In past refugee and mass displacement events like Syria (2012-present), having these materials has often been the difference between being able to continue education or find professional work and being kept out of university or unemployed. It’s also about human dignity and the right to have one's accomplishments and work recognized and supported in what will be a very difficult journey for so many. 

At UC Davis we have developed with the help of the Ford Foundation and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) a human-digital ecosystem, the Article 26 Backpack in anticipation of this emergency that provides a way for young people to safely curate, store, share and have evaluated academic documentation and other mobility-related materials (transcripts, diplomas, professional credentials, written and oral statements of purpose and letters of recommendation.)

With the collapse of civil society in Afghanistan our implementing partners are no longer in a position to help share information about Backpack or train Backpack Guides. We ask that you use your connections and networks to spread the word about this critical resource. 

Resource page in English and Dari/Farsi:

Full Press-Release from Dr. Keith Watenpaugh.

From the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF)

At this time, the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) is working to evacuate students safely, but the cost is astronomical. As registrars and admissions leaders, we know that transcripts are critical. Imagine having to burn records to save lives- this is what happened! The AUAF students are unable to fund their own education, let alone pay towards a charter flight. While some receiving schools may be able to help students by providing scholarships if refugees are able to arrive, it’s most valuable for these students to find a place to attend school in an Islamic country or with a community like them to find support after what they have been through. 

For now, our colleague Dr. Colman Joyce and his school (AUAF) is asking for monetary donations to help fund flights for these students and even some staff whose lives are at risk. If/when AUAF is asking for schools to sponsor their students, we may reach out again, but for now, they are focused on getting these students to safe Islamic countries. Here is what you can do to help:

  1. Go to: https://friendsofauaf.org/ (they had to shut down the school website because of the danger to students and staff)
  2. Click on donate. They are currently setting up a GoFundMe on that site but for now, click on Donate.
  3. When you click on donate, they have “high dollar” donations listed. You can click on any of these (500, 1000, 2000). DO NOT WORRY- you can donate a smaller amount.
  4. After clicking on one of the amounts, you will be directed to PayPal. You can donate any amount on that page (OTHER AMOUNT).
  5. Please note: Friends of the American University of Afghanistan (FAUAF) is a registered nonprofit recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt public charity. Donations to FAUAF generally will be tax-deductible as charitable contributions. EIN: 26-3639601.