Each night on the coast of the Greek island of Lesvos, volunteers gather with night-vision goggles to wait for a sign indicating the arrival of one of the hundreds of over-loaded rubber dinghies transporting asylum-seeking refugees. Since the beginning of this year, nearly 9,000 refugees have arrived on the Greek shores, according to the UN Refugee Agency.
As the number of refugees arriving in the Mediterranean has risen, so has the number of volunteers working to assist them. This summer one of those workers was Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law Professor John Hall, who has spent nearly a month volunteering with the non-governmental organization Lighthouse Relief.
Hall worked alongside his fellow volunteers and the Greek Coast Guard to scan the coast for boats through the night and meet new arrivals with dry clothes, water, and medical triage services. His team also helped identify unaccompanied minors and provide transportation to a temporary care center.
“My professional work has focused on legal matters and human rights abuses. It is fascinating to see these issues from a humanitarian perspective,” he said. “I have no doubt that it will inform my teaching.”
Last summer, Professor Hall also accompanied students to Africa to create films centered on various NGOs as part of Dodge College of Film and Media Art’s documentary filmmaking course. He has also done human rights work in Cambodia and the Philippines.