Manuel Fernando Ngury

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2007
CEDHUR -Centro de Defesa dos Direitos Humanos dos Refugiados


This profile was prepared when Manuel Fernando Ngury was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.
The New Idea
“Ngury” is strengthening Brazil’s refugee-hosting capacity, both conceptually and at the level of policy and legal issues. Part of his work is in preparing Brazilian society—changing the way people think about refugees and immigrants (as many refugees are legally classified)—by inserting the issue into a human rights discourse. Ngury also pushes to guarantee refugees’ basic citizenship rights, as well as improved access to education and jobs. He is beginning to transcend the zero-sum game so common in the human rights field (with different groups battling for resources, time, etc.) by collaborating with different groups, but this is dependent on the policy he hopes to change. For example, Ngury may work with the Afro-Brazilian movement to mobilize the refugee population to advocate for equal access to education, or other social movements to implement laws guaranteeing economic rights to employment.

The links Ngury creates go far beyond political advocacy: He also forges connections for refugees to the social and business sectors by skillfully speaking to their interests. These links include shifting incentives for the business sector to hire refugees and immigrants and changing the legal terms that stand in the way of them being admitted to universities.

Traditional refugee-hosting countries are in Europe and North America. By transforming Brazil’s structures for hosting refugees to be competitive on a global level, Ngury is creating a shift in thinking about where possible host countries can be.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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