‘Barbara Harrell-Bond: A life not ordinary’
Director: Enrico Falzetti
Written by Katarzyna Grabska and Enrico Falzetti
Produced by Katarzyna Grabska in collaboration with AMERA Int.
Documentary: 58 min
Through the prism of an extraordinary life, this documentary explores the achievements of Barbara Harrell-Bond – academic, refugee activist and life-long advocate of refugee rights. The film takes us on a personal journey of a not-so-ordinary woman born in a remote town in South Dakota during the Great Depression. It traces her career from her initial engagement with the civil rights movement in the late Fifties, to her move to the UK in the mid-Sixties where she studied social anthropology at the University of Oxford, and then to her travels in West Africa where she carried out much of her academic research. Her first-hand experience of the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria in 1980, and the humanitarian crisis in Sudan in 1982, led her to establish the first centre for refugee studies in Oxford, of which she is the founding director. A very strong advocate of legal aid programs for refugees in the Global South, Barbara endeavoured also to pioneer and establish a number of these programs including in Uganda, Egypt, South Africa, and the UK. Far from being only an academic, the focus of Barbara’s life-long work has been on refugee rights, and on keeping refugees at the centre of humanitarian interventions. Issues which resonate even more deeply now, in an age in which safe havens for refugees are increasingly being eroded and violations of human rights are on the rise.