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About the speaker

Dr Shirley Worland is a Lecturer in Social Sciences at Chiang Mai University and a Research Fellow at Australian Catholic University. She had 15 years’ experience of health based social work before committing full time to PhD studies that explored the identity of displaced Karen on the Thai-Burma border. This study took her to live in both a refugee camp and later a Karen village for six years where she facilitated higher education for Karen refugees and conducted two further ethnographic researches relating to lives of refugee Karen during war and the nexus between illiteracy and development of refugee Karen. Her current research interests relate to migrant education in Thailand and the nexus of non-literacy of Karen refugees in relation to repatriation challenges.                             

The title of her research is:  

1. “Recognition of migrant education on the Thai-Burma border: A Right’s Perspective.”

2. “Literacy as Empowerment for Karen refugees potential repatriation to Karen State, Myanmar.”


For any enquiries about this event, please contact Tara-Sienna Hartman at

Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture

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