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“The Disability Under Siege project, aims to provide the intellectual, financial and logistical resources required to deliver a transformational step change in education provision for children with disabilities in conflict-affected states.”

Professor Dina Kiwan, Principal Investigator

Project Overview

Disability Under Siege is a co-created programme bringing together a community of researchers, educational practitioners, advocacy organisations and disability led groups in the UK and Middle East.  It will contribute to research efforts by providing intellectual and logistical resources that local practitioners need to transform education provision for children with disabilities in conflict-affected countries. 

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Our research partners include Birzeit University (Palestine), Birmingham City University (UK), Islamic University of Gaza (Palestine), and the Lebanese American University (Lebanon), which bring complementary expertise in the fields of education under occupation, inclusion, public health and social action, visual culture and participative arts, disability and social justice.

News and Blogs

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Lords Committee requests urgent review of the Life in the UK Test

In response to Professor Dina Kiwan's recommendations for the Citizenship Life in the UK test the Lords Committee have published their findings in an open letter letter to Home Office Minister, Kevin Foster MP, stressing the need for the Government to begin immediately a review of the Life in the UK Test.
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The impact of COVID-19 on Persons with Disabilities in Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan

In 2021 researchers from the Disability Under Siege Network in Lebanon, Jordan, and the occupied Palestinian territories investigated the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on persons with disabilities living in those countries.
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Appointment to the Migration Advisory Committee

We are delighted to share with you that Professor Dina Kiwan, Principal Investigator for the Disability Under Siege project, has been appointed as a member of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) for 3 years from 1 May 2021.
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Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize 2021

We are excited to announce that Ruth Gilligan, co-investigator for the Disability under Siege project, has won the 2021 RSL Ondaatje Prize with The Butchers (Atlantic Books).
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Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Palestinians with Disabilities

Nazmi Al-Masri, co-Investigator for the Disability Under Siege project, recently held two focus group workshops at the Islamic University in Gaza to discuss the impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Palestinians with Disabilities.
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Mapping Inclusivity of Needs Assessment & Reconstruction Initiatives During Beirut Blast Recovery Response

On August 4, 2020, a blast in Beirut’s port area caused immense damage to the city, killing approximately 200 people, and leaving 6,500 injured and over 300,000 displaced. The study, written by Itab Shuayb and Sabine Doueiry, is now available to download from The Disability Hub.
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Citizenship Life in the UK test

On Tuesday 29th March Professor Dina Kiwan, was invited as an expert witness to the Justice and Home Affairs Select Committee to discuss the Citizenship Life in the UK test. You can watch the proceedings on the parliament TV channel, link below.
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Dis/abled decolonial human and citizen futures

Our PI, Professor Dina Kiwan has recenlty published an article IN the journal, Citizenship Studies. The article utilises the dual methodological lens of disability and decolonisation in order to critically examine, in interdisicplinary and global perspective, what it will mean to be both a ‘human’ and a ‘citizen’ in the 21st century.
Inaugural lecture title

Disability Under Siege: decolonising knowledge on disability in contexts of conflict and crisis by Professor Dina Kiwan

Tuesday 19th May 2022 18:00-19:00 UK Time: Did you know that 15% of the world’s population – 1 billion people – experience some form of disability? The prevalence of disability is even higher in lower- and middle-income countries, exacerbated by poverty and conflict (World Bank, 2018). Not only is disability higher in these countries, and its effects exacerbated by the socio-political conditions, infrastructure and attitudes to disability, but disability also arises as a direct result of conflict and armed violence. Most research and knowledge of disability in lower- and middle-income countries has been produced in the Global North, despite the majority of disabled people being in the Global South. In this lecture, Professor Kiwan will examine dominant discourses of disability, outline key areas of research in the field, and propose priority research areas for the future.
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Disabled people are being left out of COVID recovery. Here are five ways to change that

After two years of the pandemic, there is an understandable desire to “go back to normal”. Disabled people, having been particularly impacted by the pandemic, have described the removal of all COVID rules as a “kick in the teeth”. Read Vera Kubenz's recent article in The Conversation
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Network and Knowledge Exchange Funding Call - now open!

Up to £30,000 will be available to create opportunities for learning and co-production of new knowledge and sustainable practices for education for those with disabilities, with a focus on Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine. To find out more visit our Research Opportunities page.
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Innovative methods for researching disability and COVID-19 in the Global South

This workshop, aimed at academics and practitioners alike, will enable participants to learn about innovative and equitable ways of engaging with disability research in a development context. For further details of and to register for this online workshop please access the link below.
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All In

The global recovery from Covid-19 must be disability-inclusive. It is time for the left to work with disabled people, putting us at the heart of their plans, writes Vera Kubenz, research fellow, Disability under Siege project.
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What can the COVID-19 pandemic teach us about disability justice?

The event will explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on disabled people, who have been deprioritised in pandemic planning around the world, facing discrimination in healthcare, exclusion from education and employment, and neglect, abuse, and violence both in care and in the community. The event will explore how the lived experience of disabled people can inform activism and politics to make the world a fairer and more accessible place for all.
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Global Perspectives on Sign Language Interpreting

The Disability Hub at the Centre for Lebanese Studies (LAU) with our Partners at the Disability Under Siege Project are pleased to invite you to their online event "Global Perspectives on Sign Language Interpreting", The role, education,and professionalization of Arabic and International Sign interpreters in Lebanon and Jordan on Monday 8 November 2021, 4:00 – 5:30 PM Beirut-Amman / 2:00 PM UK.
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Disability Under Siege: An Analytical Framework for a Disability-Inclusive COVID-19 Recovery

Research Fellow, Vera Kubenz, gives a short presentation as part of the #WPRN21 conference on the Disability Under Siege projects, which researches the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on disabled people in Low- and Middle- Income Countries, and aims to design an analytical framework for a disability-inclusive recovery.
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A letter to friends and colleagues; "What needs to be known, remembered, and acted upon."

Rita Giacaman, co-investigator for the Disability under Siege project, writes from Ramallah, West Bank, occupied Palestinian territory, about the latest brutal Israeli attack on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

The impact of COVID-19 on Persons with Disabilities in Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan.

All Means All! How to support inclusive education and learning during these times of crisis.

Life Cycle and the Story of Inclusive Design

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Disability under Siege Newsletter December 2021

The latest edition of the Disability under Siege newsletter is now available. Follow the link below to catch up on news and events from our network partners.
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All Means All!

How to support inclusive education and learning during these times of crisis. A short video created by the Disability Hub on barriers all students, including students with disabilities in Lebanon, face as they return to in person learning.
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How pandemic responses neglected disabled people’s rights

Research Fellow for the Disability under Siege project, Vera Kubenz, writes for The Conversation on "How pandemic responses neglected disabled people's rights."
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Education for disabled children in the Global South during COVID-19: An afterthought?

To mark International Day of Education, Vera Kubenz wrote a blog looking at The impact of the pandemic on disabled children in the Global South.