Earlier this year Buskerud and Vestfold University College and the Freedom of Expression Foundation (Fritt Ord) established research grants for students who study freedom of expression, democracy and human rights.
The object of the Freedom of Expression Foundation is to protect and promote freedom of expression, particularly by encouraging lively debate and the dauntless use of the free word.
After careful considerations, students of our MSc program in Human rights and Multiculturalism, Ms Saidat Mugerwa Nassali and Mr Amit Kumar Singh, have been awarded the Freedom of Expression Foundation students grants 2015.
They both receive 25.000 NOK, to be used to complete the fieldwork of their master’s projects.
– Both projects addresses urgent human rights issues, and has the potential to raise public awareness and create important debates, says associated professor Lena Lybæk.
In his master’s project Mr. Singh intends to research, “the perception of Indian Students on Conflict between Freedom of Expression and Religious intolerance, in the context of radical Islam and extremist Hinduism in Multicultural India”.
He describes the background and intention of his research in the following way:
– Ongoing tussle and tension between freedom of expression and religion is manifesting globally - particularly in multicultural Indian society, where censoring books and movies by the state and further victimization of writers, director, painter by the radical Islamist and Hindu groups is well noted. Ironically, contemporary conflict between Freedom of Expression and Religion, seemed at loggerhead, have resulted in violence and have swayed the Indian society along the religious lines, says Singh.
His research will analyse cases of censorship of book and movies deemed offensive to Hindu and Muslim religious sentiments. In addition, he will also examine the cases of victimization of writers and directors in the connection to the multiculturalism in India.
Nassali receives support for her master's project, which focus on an often forgotten dimension of the civil wars that have affected Northern Uganda and the surrounding countries since the 1980s.
She intends to complete critical and empirical research into the integration of children of ex-abductees in Acholi land (Northern Uganda), who may receive a stigma as a result of being born by women who had a relationship with enemy soldiers or peace keeping force during the war, or children born as a result of rape.
– I am interested in which strategies are being used to integrate these children in schools and surrounding communities. I will highlight some of the challenges associated with this work, and at the same time explore the possibilities of successful integration of this group, says Nassali.
She says that many of the children face major challenges:
– Besides carrying physical and mental traumas, many suffer from unworthy treatment, says Nassali.
– Receiving Fritt ord research grant have boosted my enthusiasm to conduct my master thesis. Grant also is a recognition to the importance of my research topic. I think this kind of scholarship is a great help to non-quota International students, because usually they do not have other financial means to support their study in Norway, says Singh.
– The scholarship has removed many concerns for me. A research trip like the one we face offers a lot of challenges, and many of these are of a financial nature and often completely unforeseen at the same time. Fritt Ord Foundation has really lifted some weight of my shoulders with this grant, says Nassali.
– Significant contribution
– Freedom of Expression Foundation wishes to contribute to the excellent work done by Buskerud and Vestfold University College to emphasize freedom of expression, democracy and human rights. Through masters degree in human rights and multiculturalism gives the college an important contribution to safeguard the culture to discuss these important issues, says project manager at the Fritt Ord Foundation, Joakim Lie.