Special Reports

Global Effort to Educate the World’s Neediest Youth: Syrian Refugees to Benefit


Violence and atrocities all over the world have left more than 57 million children out of school and without access to education. In response to this, former NYU President John Sexton announced the creation of the Catalyst Trust for Universal Education in his speech at the Institute of International Education (IIE).

The Catalyst Trust works to "expand access to high-quality education for children and youth around the world." The trust provides funding for educational projects to ensure that children are able to go to school and receive meaningful education. Catalyst also helps in the creation of materials and structures necessary to achieve its goals.

In a report issued by the Malala Fund, education activist and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai called for world leaders to support education for children displaced by the crisis in Syria. She also appealed for donors to support the "Education Cannot Wait Fund". The fund is spearheaded by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Mr. Brown is also part of the Catalyst Trust's initial project PEER or the Platform for Education in Emergencies Response. PEER, according to PR Newswire will be "a new global clearinghouse to identify scholarships and opportunities and connect displaced and refugee students with resources they can use, anywhere in the world."

PEER will serve as an over all educational resource offering a global database of scholarships and other education opportunities, offer support services such as credential evaluation, language courses and mentoring mentoring opportunities and advising and counselling to help students identify opportunities and make sound decisions.

A staunch advocate of higher education, Mr. Sexton has a vision for a global university and believes that, "If they have school, the displaced students can turn their lives around. Many in the higher education community have indicated that they are willing to accept refugee students. We aim to provide them with the education they deserve."

The proponents of this project also believe that apart from advancing the children's chances for getting the education they deserve, they are also making it easier for those who would like to help - donor countries, not-for-profit organizations and other entities will now have a place to go to and offer their help instead of starting from scratch.

American actor George Clooney and his wife Amal Clooney, a London-raised human rights lawyer who was born in Lebanon are also doing their share of the work to educate young Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Internet giant Google have committed $1 million to the Clooney Foundation for Justice.

The Clooneys are starting with Lebanon where more than 1.5 million Syrians have relocated to since 2011. "Let's not lose an entire generation of people because they happened to be born in the wrong place at the wrong time." Mr. Clooney told USA Today.

Al Jazeera also called for education of Syria's children who were forced to leave their homes and are missing out on school. As Bassam Khawaja wrote, "The costs of failure - child labour, early marriage, and a lost generation - are just too high."

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