The New 1%

UNHCR report: forced displacement is now affecting more
than one per cent of humanity -- 79.5 million people

“At least 3.5 million refugees of primary and secondary school going age do not have access to education – it’s not a problem, it’s a tragedy.”

Stephane Jacquemet, UNHCR

photo credit: Denis Bosnic / Jesuit Refugee Service

Audience with Pope Francis, November 2017

Pope Francis meets with the RME Network

“Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children,
women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who
share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more.”

“It is our hope that the RME Network will allow us to reflect on the challenges we are facing as a human community and eventually shape a more human world.”

Dr. Anthony Cernera, CEO Being the Blessing Foundation

photo credit: Denis Bosnic / Jesuit Refugee Service

“We see you. We hear you. You are important.
You matter.”

Dr. Michael Ondaatje, Australian Catholic University

Photo credit: Denis Bosnic/JRS

Refugees and their access to education: A sobering reality


There are 70.8 million people who have been forcibly displaced worldwide, as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations. Tens of millions more are on the move, having lost their homes and livelihood due to environmental degradation, natural disasters and climate change. Today’s worldwide refugee and migrant crisis is one of generational significance. It requires both immediate and long-term responses.

We cannot afford to not provide education to migrants and refugees. Without education, they will not be able to live a dignified life in refugee camps, integrate themselves in a new country when resettled, or rebuild their country or region if and when they decide to return.

Refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than their non-refugee peers. As a result, 3.5 million refugee children of school age are currently not enrolled in school, and only one per cent of refugees will ever enrol in a college or university (Source: UNHCR). Yet, many of the Syrian and Iraqi refugees who have reached developed countries in recent years have already graduated from high school and would greatly benefit from a university education. Some even hold university degrees, which are however not recognized in the host countries, due to bureaucratic hurdles.

We can do something about this — not alone, as single individuals or institutions, but together in a global network: the Refugee and Migrant Education (RME) Network.




Critical Conversations on Refugee and Migrant Education:
Toward Commitment and Concrete Action

The coronavirus pandemic has upended educational systems and practices worldwide, but for refugees and migrants the pandemic exposed how desperate their already difficult plight has become. Throughout 2021, the Refugee & Migrant Education Network will be hosting a series of conversations about issues within refugee education.

Future programs will explore:

  • Reimagining innovation in a time of global uncertainty;
  • Educating university students about refugees and migrants;
  • Developing effective partnerships advancing educational access to displaced persons.

Next Event:

Program 2 — Critical Conversations: Innovations in Refugee Education.

April 13, 2021

11am – 12:30pm EST / 5:00 pm to 6.30 pm CET

Please join us for our second event in our series “Critical Conversations in Refugee Education”. This event will feature distinguished speakers as well as personal stories of innovative refugees.

Previous Events:

Program 1 — February 16, 2021, 11am – 12:30pm EST

Education in Exile:

Current State and Importance of Refugee Education as a Pathway to Opportunity

The Refugee & Migrant Education Network, in partnership with the Gregorian University in Rome, hosted our first program of 2021! The discussion featured Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and was hosted by Fernando M. Reimers, Harvard University’s Ford Foundation Professor of the Practice in International Education and Director of the Global Education Innovation Initiative.

About us

The RME Network has been founded to foster and facilitate educational programs and initiatives, as well as practical research and collaboration between universities and not-for-profit organizations, for the benefit of refugees and migrants.

Our network serves as a global platform of dynamic cooperation between our member institutions. We want to help refugees in whatever living conditions they may find themselves to obtain and build on their education — whether they be in a refugee camp or an informal urban settlement, whether they find themselves internally displaced within the country of origin, residing in a transit country, or settled in a host country.

Get involved

46 universities, NGOs, not-for-profit organizations and individuals are already members of our network. We are striving to build a large, international network which showcases best practices and provides effective tools for collaboration to its members.

This is why we would like to encourage more institutions and organisations who engage in teaching, research, and/or providing educational services to (and/or about) migrants and refugees to join us, either as members, partners, or collaborators, or by providing financial support.

If you are interested, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you.

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