Hone Mandefro is a PhD student of Social and Cultural Analysis at Concordia University with a Masters of Social Work. He is also a Black, international student from Ethiopia, a human rights advocate in Ethiopia, a Wadsworth International Fellow and 2019 Vanier Scholar.

In this video


  • International student life
  • Immigrant experience
  • Human rights advocacy

In this video, Mandefro unpacks complex experiences of international students who are active human rights advocates in their birth country. He says they feel obligated to meet the challenges of daily life, achieve academic success and maintain mental wellness amidst the precarity of being immigrants. However, they can play a transformative mediating role, informally or formally, using their experiences with human rights in both countries to propose reform to policies and praxis.

Taking action

  • Universities need to be attentive to the immigration status of students and take a holistic approach to their needs.
  • Be cognizant of the extra space and time international students may need to complete deadlines, and take care of their health especially amidst a pandemic.
  • As a university, student groups or faculty invest in transnational dialogue and learning environments by supporting international students to be active in academic and community work within the countries from which they emigrated.


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