World leaders called for action to help young refugees and internally displaced youths at the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) yesterday, hosted and attended by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson, Education Above All ( EAA) Foundation.
With more than 260mn children and adolescents not in school today, and only 1% of young refugees able to access higher education, the world will not achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals if young people are denied quality educational opportunities.
Delivering a keynote address at EAA’s panel on ‘Asset over Burden – Education for Refugee Youth’, Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana, and co-chair of SDG Advocates said, “The spectre of tens of millions of young refugees growing up without the needed skills to create a meaningful life for themselves is a dangerous one. What do we expect them to do? What opportunities are available to them? How competitive can they be in this global economy? These are questions that must elicit a concerted and calculated response from the world’s leaders.”
“In my view, education, education and more education is the only way by which we can foster a sense of cohesion and solidarity amongst displaced persons, especially of those of school going age, and, help create for them, an enabling environment, which will spur them on to lead more purposeful and dignified lives,” Akufo-Addo stressed.
Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management said, “Tens of millions of children are deprived of education. We cannot afford lost generations. No single child should be left behind. It is our moral duty to do more. This is why in 2018 I will devote 8% of the EU’s humanitarian budget to education in emergencies.”
EAA Foundation signed several new partnerships at the event, as part of the Foundation’s commitment to address the global education crisis and its goal of enrolling 10mn out-of-school children. Launched in 2012 to enable human development through the provision of inclusive quality education, the Foundation has already committed to providing education opportunities to 7.3mn children worldwide.
The new partnerships will help over 3,000 Syrian and Palestinian refugees living in Turkey with full university scholarships, including tuition, accommodation, health insurance and a monthly stipend in partnership with SPARK and the Council of Higher Education in Turkey. Thirty Palestinian junior teachers from Gaza will be able to pursue graduate studies in the United Kingdom in partnership with the British Council.
The other panel speakers at the event were Dr Alaa Murabit, SDG Advocate – Health, Employment and economic growth (Canada), Kevin Murphy, president, ExxonMobil Foundation (US), Allan E Goodman, CEO and president, International Institute of Education (US) and Asmaa Fikree, Qatar Youth Advocate.