As of October 2014, Yousra Benfquih is a PhD fellow of FWO Vlaanderen (Research Foundation Flanders) in the research group Law and Development of the Faculty of Law of the University of Antwerp. In the preceding academic year, she gained significant teaching experience as the teaching assistant of prof. dr. Wouter Vandenhole in the field of both Fundamental Rights and Liberties and Legal Reasoning and was a fellow at the Human Rights and Social Affairs Division of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations in New York.
Yousra graduated (Master of Laws) magna cum laude and top of her class at the University of Antwerp (with a study exchange at the Université Catholique de Louvain, UCL) and summa cum laude in her subsequent European Master’s Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation (E.MA) at the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) in Venice (with a research exchange at the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands). During her training, she participated in multiple moot court competitions, interned in different law firms, and was awarded several prizes and scholarships, including by the Vocatio and Rotary Foundation.
Her research is entitled: 'Reasonable accommodation in education: an integrated human rights approach on the basis of the right to equality, inclusive education, and freedom of religion' (Dutch title: ‘Redelijke aanpassingen in het onderwijs: een geïntegreerde mensenrechtenbenadering op basis van het recht op gelijkheid, inclusief onderwijs en godsdienstvrijheid'). In an interdisciplinary manner, the research develops a multilayered human rights framework to guide the very topical and ongoing debate on the active encounter between public educational institutions and religious diversity of students. Importantly, Yousra consistently extended her research to practice, by playing a vocal and important role in pushing forward the faculty's diversity agenda and policy, as well as engaging in public debates on these matters through columns, lectures, and even artistic performances.
As a researcher, she has been mainly attentive to the interrelation between law, diversity and education, with her research interests lying in non-discrimination and equality law, religious freedom, children’s rights, education law, and inclusive education. Forced to temporarily interrupt her research activities in December 2015 for medical reasons, she picked up her mandate anew in 2017. She succesfully completed her PhD in June 2020, and is now the coordinator of the newly founded Hannah Arendt Institute for Diversity, Urbanisation and Citizenship.
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