Technological Approaches to Identity Preservation of the Stateless
In August 2022, Saqib Sheikh presented as part of the Refugees, Citizenship & Statelessness: Asia in Focus Seminar Series.
Aside from active persecution and humanitarian disaster, one of the heaviest costs borne by the Rohingya people in the face of the ongoing genocide by the Burmese military junta has been a loss of heritage and collective identity. This talk will explore the core concept of identity, both on a personal and collective level, as it relates to the Rohingya diaspora. In particular, it will delve into the efforts of the Rohingya Project, a grassroots nonprofit based in Malaysia, and its innovative use of blockchain technology as a means of both cultural preservation and restoration of basic rights, including its current deployment to archive valuable documents relating to Rohingya heritage.
Saqib Sheikh's work centers on advocacy, social inclusion and educational access for refugees and stateless people. He serves as Project Director for the Rohingya Project, a grassroots initiative for the empowerment of the Rohingya diaspora using blockchain technology. He is also a cofounder and advisor for the Refugee Coalition of Malaysia (RCOM) where he focuses on creating formal pathways for refugee placement in higher education institutes in Malaysia. A journalist by training, Saqib received his Masters in Communication from Purdue University, and is currently a PhD researcher at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore, researching the use of technology for legitimization of stateless communities.