California universities ramp up efforts to bring Afghan refugees to U.S.

Halima Kazem-Stojanovic, born in Kabul and raised in San Jose, spent more than a decade working in Afghanistan, training scholars and befriending Afghan journalists and activists. Now, she’s helping them continue their work in the United States.

“The calls keep coming, every day,” Kazem-Stojanovic, the core faculty member at San Jose State University’s Human Rights Institute, and a lecturer at the university’s journalism department said. “I get dozens and dozens of messages from worried Afghans. But now we can tell them we’ve got something in place, that hopefully, we can help you with.”

She’s referring to the network of more than 15 colleges and universities she’s assembled to sponsor Afghan scholars, academics, activists, and journalists and bring them to teach at universities in the United States. UC Berkeley’s Human Rights Center and UC Santa Cruz are also involved in the sponsorship efforts.

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