Lynn Students Propose a University Without Walls for Afghan Women 

by Dr. Antonella Regueiro 

On Thursday, April 28, doctoral candidate Celia Lawrence, graduate student Dani Lozzi and undergraduate student Katie Rodrigues presented the project they worked on for over eight months to international stakeholders.  

The University Without Walls project is a collaboration between Lynn University’s Social Impact Lab, Women Forward International, and the Afghan Institute of Learning. The project furthers two of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals: Quality Education (SDG4) and Gender Equality (SDG5).  

This project is a continuation of last year’s “Building the Bridge to Women’s Empowerment in Afghanistan,” which focused on developing the curriculum for a women’s-only university in Afghanistan. The current team’s iteration of the project builds upon the proposed curriculum, examining how to best implement it given the current socio-economic turmoil in the country.  

Lozzi noted:  

“Considering recent events in Afghanistan- including the pullout of U.S. troops, the return of the Taliban, and a prohibition of girls and women from attending school- it is recognized that the situation is ever-changing. As such, the research we have compiled may become outdated at any given moment. To address this concern, this proposal not only offers a detailed suggestion for the best strategy for implementing the curriculum, but it includes contingency plans outlining what can be done if the situation worsens.”  

Under the guidance of Dr. Regueiro, Dr. Fabj, and Dr. Kiser, the student research team focused on uncovering the cultural and social barriers that preventing Afghan women from receiving higher education, infrastructural limitations, and various online and remote instructional and learning methodologies. Through collating research on these topics and conducting a content analysis, the students devised a proposal for successful curriculum implementation.  

“The results of the content analysis revealed that women, education, Taliban, Afghanistan, and asynchronous learning were prominent themes that surfaced in the research,” said Katie Rodrigues. “This provided us with sufficient data to answer the research questions and create recommendations supported by the content analysis.” 

The research team provided a list of recommendations that including= a database of potential grants with the aim of generating additional funds to help bring the project to fruition.  

“The most exciting part of this beautiful project is knowing the positive impact our research will have to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education that promotes lifelong learning opportunities for women, in a country where they are seen as second-class citizens,” said Celia Lawrence.  

The research team created a video highlighting the current, devastating statistics that evidence the challenges Afghan women face. The University Without Walls project aspires to diminish the many barrier women face and offer an opportunity for a new horizon for women’s education in Afghanistan.  

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