New York, N.Y., November 7, 2016—Today, the Institute of International Education (IIE) unveiled a new $1 million scholarship fund to enable Syrian students with financial need to study at accredited U.S. colleges and universities, through a total of 65 scholarships or grants for living expenses. IIE will match qualified Syrian undergraduate and graduate students with specific academic programs at U.S. higher education institutions who have agreed to assist the students with tuition. With support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Ford Foundation, and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, IIE will provide scholarships to cover living expenses for students.
IIE will award scholarships to students who meet admission requirements at accredited U.S. colleges and universities. In addition, IIE will make grants to selected institutions that are part of the IIE Syria Consortium, to disburse to Syrian students enrolled at their institutions. These supplemental grants will help cover living expenses, tuition, books and other educational expenses.
The new scholarships and grants are the latest actions in IIE’s ongoing campaign to leverage educational opportunities and financial support to help as many as possible of the approximately 100,000 to 200,000 university students whose education has been interrupted by violence in Syria. IIE is working on many levels to build partnerships and mobilize support to connect Syrian students with the education they need to integrate and contribute to their new communities and ultimately stabilize Syria after the conflict subsides.
IIE’s President and CEO Allan Goodman joined with former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and IIE Trustee and former NYU President John Sexton on September 22 to launch the Platform for Education in Emergencies Response (PEER), a global clearinghouse, supported by the Catalyst Trust for Universal Education, and to host a critical discussion about ways that education, government and philanthropic leaders can help meet the emergency needs of the children and youth who are cut off from educational opportunities by war, persecution, and violence. These efforts were inspired by IIE’s earlier collaboration with former President of Portugal Jorge Sampaio, founder of the Global Platform for Syrian Students.
“As the crisis multiplies, there is a real prospect of a lost generation. We must not let that happen,” said IIE president Allan E. Goodman. “Syria needs students to continue their university education and scholars to continue their academic work so that, even in the midst of crisis, the country is producing the leadership and knowledge necessary for a successful future. With this commitment and with the generosity of additional donors, we will be able to assist Syrian students and scholars whose expertise will be so urgently needed when the country can begin to rebuild,” said Dr. Goodman.
The new Syrian scholarship fund and the Platform for Education in Emergencies Response reflect a growing commitment in the international community to address the higher education needs of displaced populations. The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants put forward during the UN General Assembly this September puts makes a strong case for addressing higher education as part of its commitment, stating, “In conflict and crisis situations, higher education serves as a powerful driver for change, shelters and protects a critical group of young men and women by maintaining their hopes for the future, fosters inclusion and non-discrimination and acts as a catalyst for the recovery and rebuilding of post-conflict countries.” This is an important new component of the political will of world leaders to save lives, protect rights and share responsibility on a global scale.
Building Partnerships to Help Displaced Syrian Students and Scholars
IIE has worked with many different partners to support to Syrian students since the outset of the conflict in 2011. Current initiatives include:
- The Syria Consortium that IIE leads has more than 60 U.S. and international higher education institutions that have committed to providing scholarships for Syrian students seeking to complete their degrees in North America and Europe. The network has supported more than 300 Syrian students to date, and IIE has also awarded 141 emergency grants for Syrian students who were already enrolled at U.S. universities, but unable to continue making payments due to conflict-related disruptions at home.
- Syrian women’s education is disproportionately affected by the conflict. Once in exile, Syrian men are three times more likely than women to resume their studies. To address this, IIE has teamed up with Jusoor to create a new scholarship fund, 100 Syrian Women, 10,000 Syrian Lives earlier this month; nine students started their studies in the United States in fall of 2016.
- IIE’s “From Camps to Campus” pilot initiative has provided tuition support to motivated Syrian refugee students living in Jordan seeking to complete their final years of university.
- IIE is currently partnering with the Jesuit Refugee Service as part of the Coursera for Refugees program to provide free online courses developed by world-class universities such as Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania. IIE worked with Jesuit Refugee Service on the ground in Jordan to identify and select qualified refugee students, and JRS will provide in-person facilitated classes for the students to they can take advantage of the opportunities offered by Coursera.
About the Institute of International Education
The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the leader in providing international education strategies and program services. Our international approach to education—diverse, borderless, impactful—is a proven way for governments and companies to invest in global talent and solidify overseas relationships. We work with policymakers, educators and employers across the globe to prepare students and professionals for the global workforce and equip them to solve the increasingly complex challenges facing our interconnected world. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE designs and implements over 250 programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government and private sources. IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,400 member institutions.