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Made to address the social and institutional barriers that arise as refugees and vulnerable young people attempt to continue their education or gain employment, the Article 26 Backpack™ is a universal human rights tool that empowers academic and employment mobility. The project is poised to revolutionize the way refugees and those whose education has been disrupted by war, natural disaster, or economic collapse shape, store and share elements of their professional and educational identity.

Article 26 Backpack™ is named in accordance with Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which asserts everyone’s right to education. The initiative is a key element of the University of California’s global efforts to protect and promote human rights by bringing the full force of a modern research university to bear on the world’s most pressing challenges.

Leveraging UC and UC Davis expertise in educational technology, Article 26 Backpack™ translates high-quality social science and humanities research into direct humanitarian action.

It is a demonstration, as well, of our belief that leading institutions of higher education have a unique responsibility to protect the human right to quality lifetime education for all.

Across '23-'24, Backpack added approximately 1,500 new Backpackers, primarily in East Africa, with significant numbers among Afghans in and outside of Afghanistan. There are over 5,000 registered Backpackers, worldwide.

Contributions provide flexible support for the development of the Article 26 Backpack ™, including:

  • Providing hundreds of refugee and at-risk young people with the Backpack tool

  • Connecting with universities to encourage acceptance of the Backpack for admissions decisions

  • Encouraging employers to use the Backpack in identifying and recruiting highly-skilled employees

  • Providing a safe, secure, and efficient connection to professional resources for refugees and at-risk young people

  • Adding new languages to the Backpack, including Arabic, Dari/Farsi, Spanish, and French

Goals for '24-'25 include:

  • Backpack for Burma

  • Restart of Armenian Backpack

  • Support Gaza higher education reconstruction and Palestinians under Israeli occupation

  • New collaboration UNICEF project on Afghanistan

  • Development of two new Backpack languages: Amharic and Swahili and the creation and funding of an implementation plan for Ethiopia and Eritrea

  • Broad implementation of the Badge

Article 26 Backpack™ invites you to partner with us as we take the next steps in providing refugee populations throughout the Middle East and beyond with opportunities to reclaim their right to education.

For more information on this exciting initiative visit, Article 26 Backpack™.

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Keith David Watenpaugh
Professor and Director, Article 26 Backpack™
[email protected]
+1 (530) 752-0470 (Phone)

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