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Human resources

Ghazwan Yaghi nominated for UAF-award

12 October 2021

Ghazwan Yaghi is one of the six nominees for a UAF award, a prize for refugee students and professionals. Until recently, Yaghi was a researcher at the Institute for Area Studies (LIAS).

The UAF-Award symbolizes the commitment and perseverance of refugee students and professionals who are (re)shaping their future. The nominees distinguish themselves by their study and work achievements and their commitment to society. 

Passion for architecture

Yaghi holds a doctorate in history and architecture and worked as a scholar for over 20 years. Yaghi was employed as an archaeologist by the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums and worked as a professor at the University of Damascus. 'Syria is a country with over ten thousand archaeological sites.'

In 2014, he fled the war. Thanks to various grants, Yaghi has been able to continue his work in the Netherlands. In 2018, he participated in the Hestia programme, an initiative of the UAF and Dutch Research Council (NWO). That offers refugee scholars and scientists the opportunity to work on current research projects. A year later, he was awarded a grant by Leiden University, where he worked as a senior researcher in the Institute for Area Studies. Yaghiis currently working as a researcher at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS). He has also published a number of articles and books. Ghazwan comments, ‘My focus is on the relationship between the function and form of the Mamluk baths and society of that period.’  

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Community engagement

Apart from his work, Ghazwan also shares his knowledge of Syria and Syrian architecture with Dutch society. He has held over 20 presentations in recent years, including in Utrecht, Leiden and his city of residence, Houten. He has even established a foundation for this work called the Arabic Dutch Culture House. Yaghi: ‘We enrich one another’s lives. I have created a place where people of different backgrounds can interact and learn about and enjoy each other’s culture.’ 


From 11 October to 3 November, anyone can vote for their favourite nominee for the UAF Award via uaf.nl/stemmen. The winner is decided by the totality of voters together with a professional jury. The winner will have the opportunity to enrol in the educational programme of their choice valued at 4.000 euros, made possible by ICM.  

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