For the last four months Isabel González Enríquez, a doctoral student in Anthropology from Spain, has been serving as the very first Visiting Scholar at the Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies at Lehman College. While living in New York City, aside from learning to navigate her way around the Big Apple—include a long daily commute from Brooklyn to the Bronx every day— the Madrid native has been laboring over her thesis on forced migration neighborhoods in Colombia. González Enríquez, who has worked the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees, did her field research in Colombia meeting with and speaking to the migrant workers who living in these areas when she lived there from 2007 to 2010.
“These are immigrants who migrate to a country looking for work,” says González Enríquez, who speaks four languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and English. “These are people who are refugees within their country.” Now, that her four months in New York is nearly finished, the Madrid native will return home where she will teach at U.N.E.D. (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia) later this Spring.
“Isabel’s presence at the Center brings her experience working with the United Nations in Colombia and her top notch scholarly work on human rights to the Lehman community,” says Professor Victoria Sanford of the College’s Anthropology department and the director of the Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies. “International visiting scholars enriches the educational experience of our students and enhances international scholarly collaboration.”
Founded in 2011, the Center builds on Lehman College’s unique history: the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights began at Lehman College when the United Nations met at the College. Lehman College students, often immigrants and the first in their families to access higher education, engender a broad understanding of human rights. The Center unites student and faculty engagement on local and global rights issues in New York and the greater world community.