Meet the team of 2022-2023
We are a non-profit organization and all members of Right2Education are volunteers. Together, we are working towards building a community and bridging the gap between outsiders and insiders.
Toby Biggs O'May
“I first became involved in R2E as a buddy in the Fall of 2020, and the following semester I joined the teaching team. My experience as a teacher was wonderful–I met so many lovely people and had so many great conversations that I knew from early on that I wanted to continue my participation in the organisation.
This year, along with my amazing partner Fee, I will be responsible for co-ordinating the teaching team and overseeing the curricula and classes. From my own experience, I know the amount of input and dedication teaching requires, and Fee and I have already started working on ensuring that our teachers feels comfortable, confident and prepared for the semester ahead of them.
I am so excited to be working with such a talented and committed board this year and I look forward to seeing how Right2Education continues to grow and flourish as an organisation.”
Treasurer and Acquisitions
“Hey everyone! I strongly believe language is the most important form of communication. Communication goes way further than just exchanging information, it builds connections and creates so many opportunities and experiences. This is exactly the reason why I feel like everyone should have the right to education. I was part of the buddy system in my first year and since then I knew I wanted to be more involved in the organisation. Because outside of the educational part, it also creates connections and friendships more than anything else ever could.
For the coming year I will be taking the role as treasurer & head of acquisitions. I am really excited to work together with this amazing board to make right2education even bigger, with even more learning, socializing and fun:).”
Esme Smithson Swain
“I’d volunteered with a similar organisation to Right2Education in England, so when I heard about it I was immediately keen to get involved. I luckily got a position as an English teacher last year, and loved the experience. It was very sociable, and even during COVID-19 enabled me to talk to lots of new people in Amsterdam. We had a really fun time with our lessons and I even learnt a lot of Dutch from the students (who were much much better than me). I wanted to get more involved this year, and had lots of ideas for Right2Education outreach so I applied to join the board.
Right2Education is already such an inclusive and welcoming community, but I hope that in the next year we can form more partnerships and make our classes even more accessible. There’s been great support for R2E, and many people agree with the values so this next year will hopefully be about increasing R2E’s reach and impact.”
“I was brought up with the idea that education is the most important and powerful tool one can have. I first came around Right2Education at AUC and I became quickly intrigued by the concept, idea and mission of the organization. R2E provides a safe and inclusive space where people come together with the same intention, that is, to learn. I think of R2E as the perfect space to learn and grow with and from one another, building genuine bonds and a community through the exchange of culture, beliefs and opinions. This really sparked my attention and I realized that I wanted to be a part of such a valuable community, spending quality time with people I know I will learn a lot from.
I will be contributing to the R2E community as one of the three student coordinators, working alongside Alaa and Daria. I am very excited to meet all students, teachers and buddies this upcoming year!”
“I finished two undergraduate programs in my country, but when I came to the Netherlands, I wanted to follow my dreams and learn new things. First of all, I had to learn English well. ( still working on it ) I signed up for an english class at Right2education and completed this course . then i made sure i wanted to be a part of this family. I know all the difficulties of being an immigrant. Especially how difficult it is to live without knowing the language… We should work harder, get education and develop for a better world. Other people who came as immigrants like me have the same right to education as everyone else. Education is what will move humanity forward. That’s why I’m here and excited to be with you all year. I am sure we will have a very good education period here. I can’t wait to see you. ”
“Upon my arrival in Amsterdam, I came across R2E on Facebook and unlike my fellow board members, I joined as a guest student at first.
During four months of exciting classes, caring teachers, fun weekly events, and a wonderful buddy system I was thrilled with what R2E offers. I always wanted to contribute with R2E as I believe that education is a major factor in terms of integration and everyone deserves to have equal access to it. Therefore, when I had the opportunity to join the board, I didn’t hesitate.
As a student coordinator and a former guest student, I want to pass my experience to our guest students and make them feel welcome as I felt. We will make sure to provide our guest students with all the support they need throughout the course.”
沈薇 Shen Wei
Academic and teacher coordinator
“During the summer of 2021, I had the opportunity of tutoring a Ugandan refugee in my home country, Taiwan. Teaching Mandarin was my only job description, but my student and I always ended up sitting together and talking after class. We got carried away with our conversations, amazed by how a universal human experience lies in our life stories, despite us growing up in such different political, economic, and cultural backgrounds. We soon built a foundation of trust and friendship. As her tutor, I wanted to do more for her, but I later realized that her dilemma can only be dealt effectively on the legislative level. Within my ability and influence, I could only make sure she felt safe and secured until the day my country embraces her as a citizen.
I encountered R2E on my campus, while they were handing out business cards and trying to recruit board members from the University of Amsterdam. I immediately resonated with R2E’s mission. As a Political Science student who has benefited from quality language education, I know the level of confidence and independence that the ability of language can bring. I admire R2E for providing assistance to those who are in need, and fervently believe that anyone can contribute to make a more friendly and inclusive society. I am looking forward to see how R2E will continue to thrive, not only as a student NGO and provider of language courses, but also a diverse and comprehensive community in the Netherlands.”
Misha van Beusekom
Academic and teacher coordinator
“Coming across R2E’s page while applying to AUC was very exciting, given my past experience volunteering at a student-led organisation that also aimed to close the educational inequality gap.
During my first year, I came to hear wonderful things about the organisation and community from former teachers and buddies. This further drove me to learn more about how I could get involved. When I learned that R2E was accepting board applications, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity!
This year, I will be managing the teaching teams with my co-coordinator Wei. I hope to create an environment where teachers feel at ease, supported, and equipped in their position.
Forming this semester’s enthusiastic and driven team was already such a great experience. I am very excited for the positive contributions that our teachers will bring to this organisation and the community as a whole 🙂“
“I grew up in a family that defied all cultural norms to provide education for me. As a Palestinian Muslim women I was raised on how important education is for me and that’s what led me to AUC. I first saw the R2E team at the academic building talking to students about the concept of the organization. As they were describing how it works I was intrigued. What I appreciated most about R2E is that it was a place for the exchange of knowledge. Not only do we work on providing learning opportunities for guest students, but we also learn from them. The NGO as a whole is a safe space for expression of culture, opinion, and various perspectives. As event co-coordinator I hope to plan events that are accessible, fun, and engaging. The social side of this learning experience is very important. I wish for these events to provide a space where all the students feel welcomed and for them to create friendships. Together with my co-coordinator I wish to build the R2E community outside the classes.”
“I first joined R2E as a student, while I was eagerly looking for somewhere to learn Dutch. Thankfully I found much more than only that! After spending a few months taking classes and joining weekly events, I wanted to be a part of it as I was inspired by the mission itself and all the lovely people I’ve met.
Now as an event co-coordinator I will do my best to bring activities to life with Natal, where we can all get together to socialize, have fun and happy memories.”
Buddy system co- coordinator
“Even before I started my university journey, I was very interested in working with humanitarian organizations that serve causes that are close to my heart. As an international relations student, privileged by a quality education at AUC, I wanted to take part all the more in an NGO. R2E is the organization that gave me the opportunity to fulfil this desire as a buddy-system co-coordinator, alongside Senna.
In my opinion, education is the major foundation for a better world and I was amazed to see the incredible and effective work of this organization. An organisation almost entirely managed by students.
All board members are doing their best to offer free English and Dutch classes to refugees from around the world and make their integration into a new society easier. And this is exactly what made me want to join this student-led initiative.
I am very excited and hope to bring a positive change to this inclusive community and enrich myself through meeting people from very different backgrounds and cultures.”
Buddy system co- coordinator
“I have always been interested in migration and refugee integration. Growing up in the south coast of Spain, where one of the main refugee asylum centers of Spain and Europe is located, I noticed that key things such as language barriers and cultural differences create wide gaps between communities which give rise to a sense of not belonging and make the process of integrating so much harder. I believe it is of main importance to not only welcome the people who arrive, but also promote social inclusion and provide them opportunities to integrate within the community.
For this reason, learning about R2E, its mission, how it combines education and social activities and the genuine bonds and friendly relationships everyone at the organization shares, really inspired me and made me realize I wanted to be part of the community.
As a buddy system co-coordinator I am excited to work alongside Birte on increasing the R2E family, building a friendly community, and supporting the buddy pairs.”
The founders of Right2Education
In memory of Noah van Genuchten, Treasurer and Head of Acquisitions 2019-2020.
Our Advisory Board
Dr. Sennay Ghebreab
AUC Management Representative
Dr. Anne de Graaf
Chief Diversity Officer at the UvA
Gastvrij Oost Representative
Prof. Dr. Halleh Ghorashi
Dr. Diederik van Werven
AUC Faculty Representative