Ruba was born from Palestinian parents who experienced the Nakba, the 1948 catastrophe and became refugees after the creation of the state of Israel. In 1967, with the occupation of the rest of Palestine, her family was scattered all over the world and her parents were never allowed to return, forever cut off from their homes, belongings and affections. Ruba grew up amidst stories of displacement, of family and family friends living in limbo or crossing borders in search of safety. As a young woman, it was natural for her to develop an academic passion for the study of people on the move, suffering from injustices, deprived of self-determination, particularly migrant and refugee women.
After a degree in Political Sciences, Ruba achieved a PhD in Social Anthropology and is today a Reader in Gender Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. As an academic, she is committed to promoting scholarship emerging from the “Global South”, specifically from Arab scholars in and outside the region, and is a trustee of the Arab Council for the Social Sciences, the main institution committed to that aim in the Arab world.
After having researched and written extensively on gender, migration, multiculturalism and Islam across Europe and the Middle East, for which she achieved international recognition and was awarded a prestigious prize, today Ruba’s research focuses mainly on refugees as they have become mirrors of the predicament of humanity in the 21st century. She strongly believes that refugees are the critical consciousness of the project of humanity and human rights, questioning at the very core the notion of a shared human condition.
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