Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence

Neh Meh, MA SID/COEX'24 (Myanmar/Thailand)

Neh Meh, MA SID/COEX'24
Neh Meh, SID/COEX‘24

Recipient of the Heller Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship

As a former refugee herself, Neh Meh understands the challenges many refugees face when trying to obtain an education in the U.S. Now she’s hoping to make that process more equitable for others.

Meh was born in Thailand, but is Karenni, an ethnic minority group from Myanmar. She emigrated to Idaho as a refugee 11 years ago, earned an associate’s degree from the College of Southern Idaho and a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University-Idaho.

Since moving to the U.S., Meh has dedicated much of her time to advocacy work to help other refugees access higher education opportunities, including working with organizations such as Advocates for Refugees in Higher Education and Student Voices for Refugees. She speaks seven languages—Karenni, Karen, Burmese, Cantonese, English, ASL, and Thai—and has worked with refugee populations to provide translation services and improve communication skills.

“Witnessing the needs in their lives, combined with what I experienced in my personal life, I realized there’s a lot of gaps of access to higher education,” she says.

This realization drove her to enroll as a dual-degree student in the conflict resolution and coexistence program and sustainable international development program at Heller. She said the programs appealed to her because they aligned with her passion to make a difference for underprivileged groups in both the U.S. and internationally.

Meh, who is a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Scholar, said the diversity of the students and faculty in the program was another big reason Heller seemed like a good fit for her. She said being able to sit in class with people from all different backgrounds and listen to their experiences has been enlightening.

She’s also looking forward to participating in practicums that provide her with experiences that will help her better understand issues related to educational systems and how to transform policies.

After graduation, Meh hopes to work with the United Nations or another NGO involved with humanitarian aid. She hopes to improve the systems for refugees so they can access better educational opportunities to support their futures.

“Right now, a lot of refugees in camps receive an education, but it’s not a standardized education or an education accepted by the host country, which limits their economic growth potential and job opportunities,” she said. “That’s something I’d like to try to change.”