GW plays role in launching advocacy campaign for university sponsorship of refugee students | GW today

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No Lost Generation GWU, an Elliott School of International Affairs organization that advocates for refugees, helped launch the response campaign: sponsorship of refugee students by colleges and universities, and two students from George Washington University have participated in the publication of a new report outlining a path and recommendations for the United States to develop, implement and maintain a university sponsorship program for refugees.

CCAS senior student Olivia Issa co-authored the report, while SEAS senior student Diing Manyang made a significant contribution. Other partners involved included the United Nations Refugee Agency, the International Rescue Committee, Duolingo, Columbia University, Open Society Foundations, the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, and the Global Taskforce on Third Country. Education Pathways.

On December 2, the Presidents’ Alliance hosted a briefing highlighting the 60-page report on Ways in which U.S. higher education institutions can help broaden avenues for refugee students to study, settle and obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States.

According to the report’s data, less than 1% of the world’s refugees are resettled each year, and while 39% of those students are eligible to pursue higher education, only 5% ultimately do.

University sponsorship programs would allow refugee students to enter the United States under a new private sponsorship category (P-4) of the United States Refugee Admission Program and study at a college or university sponsoring.

“The overarching goal of the report and the campaign we are launching is to dramatically increase refugee students ‘access to US higher education,” said Miriam Feldblum, executive director of the Presidents’ Alliance.

Ms. Manyang participated in the student question-and-answer session during the briefing, while Chronicle of Higher Education reporter Eric Hoover moderated the conversation. Asked about her trip to GW, Ms. Manyang explained that she came to the United States on the F-1 student visa. It was a bit of a challenge as she had to go back to South Sudan to get a passport, but she knew this was not an opportunity she could pass up and is hoping that other students will have the opportunity to continue. what she was able to do at GW. .

She supports the University Sponsorship Program in partnership with refugee-led organizations that provide pathways to the United States to “expose the incredible hidden talents that lie in the refugee camp.”

“This will give hope to refugees who wish to pursue higher education,” Ms. Manyan told the virtual crowd.

In the report itself, Ms. Issa, a US-born senior who studies political science and Arabic at GW, spoke about the importance of mental health advocated by US universities to create access to support. integrated that already exists, suggesting that they be explicitly formulated. aware during orientation periods.

The Refugee Educational Advancement Lab (REAL) at GW’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD) was recently launched as a resource to research and document issues related to the challenges surrounding refugees and at-risk migrants pursuing a education at all levels. The Real team consists of a pedagogical advisor from GSEHD and students from GSEHD, Elliott School and CCAS.

“Knowing them is essential to have resources,” Ms. Issa wrote. “It’s one thing to have access to resources. How to access it is another.

GW was also the first collegiate chapter to support the global No Lost Generation initiative, which began in September 2015.

During the Presidents Alliance briefing, Gillian Triggs, Deputy High Commissioner for Protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, gave his seal of approval to everyone who worked on the response campaign.

“The greatest gift you can give a young refugee is access to education,” said Dr Triggs. “Talent is universal. An opportunity to use this talent is not. We really applaud the initiative.

Since the inaugural strategy meeting in May 2021, more than 100 people from more than 60 organizations have worked on the report’s policy and program recommendations, and GW students and organizations have lent their voices to the discussions.

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