CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts — MIT’s Refugee Action Hub (ReACT) is filling the gap in educational opportunities for displaced people around the world. Recently, ReACT hosted an online certificate program in computer and data science (CDS) with 136 participants from 29 countries. Along with CDS, the prestigious academic institution organizes the MITx MicroMasters program, which offers training and paid internships in development sectors for alumni. Furthermore, ReACT conducts research and advocates for the advancement of refugee education.
Making Transnational Impact
MIT’s Associate Provost for International Activities Richard Lester remarked, ”Even in the face of extreme disruption, education and scholarship must continue and MIT is committed to providing resources and safe forums for displaced scholars,” MIT News reports. MIT’s global education initiatives provide a blueprint for rethinking refugee assistance and display the capacity of academic institutions to make a transnational impact.
Refugee education is an international issue especially as the number of displaced people continues to rise globally. Notably, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) projects that there will be 3.9 million more refugees in 2023. More than ever, refugee support infrastructure must be put into place to realize the full potential of a generation of brilliant minds. MIT’s global education models are giving young innovators agency and professional opportunities that are essential to refugee empowerment.
These programs are put on with the help of international academic institutions, NGOs, the private sector and state support. Na’amal is one group that works closely with ReACT’s initiatives. The NGO organizes events that focus on refugee innovation, technology, leadership, creative and critical thinking skill development.
Alumni of ReACT programs earn internships with multinational corporations and global humanitarian organizations. These internships are vital for displaced people. Typically, a refugee’s political status often restricts professional opportunities in the informal sector. MIT’s educational programs also alleviate poverty among stateless communities
Rethinking Refugee Support
ReACT kickstarts refugee-led social initiatives and provides a space for refugee empowerment. MIT initiatives give refugees a space for innovative thinking. Much of a refugee’s energy goes into survival, a barrier that constantly forces them to think outside of perceived boundaries. Offering refugees space to transfer capacity into skill development and innovation through education, as well as networking opportunities is critical to reconstructing livelihood.
Refugees hold the basic human right to not just survive but pursue their dreams. The global community is tasked to expand the educational infrastructure for the 27.1 million refugees and the 4.6 million asylum seekers that are stateless today. Displaced people live on six continents, with different backgrounds, cultures and skills.
ReACT participant Mohammad Hizzani reflected that,” [ReACT] gave me confidence, it gave me hope – [it was]where people finally started to appreciate my intelligence, my skills and my hard work.” There is enormous potential to discover in the innovative minds of the global refugee community.
For those with the ability to return home, these skills and networking connections could be essential for rebuilding their countries of origin. MIT’s Refugee Action Hub is a great example of how academic institutions can make global impacts. ReACT offers skill development, networking and professional opportunities to refugees from around the world. There are many challenges facing refugee education. However, knowledge and professional advancement are necessary for refugee empowerment.
ReACT learners develop solution-focused innovation. Social entrepreneurship makes a wide-reaching impact on a local and transnational scale. Programs such as ReACT allow the world to reimagine refugee humanitarianism. Education and poverty are inseparable. High-level training opportunities for refugees cannot be sacrificed, as it is fundamental for human agency.
– Samson Heyer