Bard College was founded in 1819 as a small, innovative college dedicated to the public good. Over the years, the college has expanded its global footprint and strengthened its commitment to supporting students affected by displacement.
Bard has a longstanding history of supporting refugee learners, dating back to the 1950s when it assisted Hungarian freedom fighters during the Revolution. The use of technology has allowed Bard to broaden its reach significantly. Since 2015, Bard has been rolling out connected learning programs for displaced learners, starting in Jordan and gradually expanding to East Africa and Bangladesh. Presently, Bard annually serves 400 refugees from diverse locations such as the Rohingya community, Yemen, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Congo, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and other crisis-affected areas.
In addition to these programs, Bard leads the Open Society University Network (OSUN)Hubs for Connected Learning Initiatives, providing educational opportunities to tens of thousands of displaced learners annually through both online and in-person platforms. The Hubs are unique in that they operate the only comprehensive bridge-year program in countries of first asylum, introducing students to disciplinary knowledge and transferable skills in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and STEM fields. This program also prepares students to apply to university. Additionally, through its Facilitator Certificate Program and Mentorship Training Program, Bard offers blended professional development for teachers working in camp settings across Bangladesh and East Africa.
Finally, Bard also serves as the co-lead for the OSUN. In this capacity, Bard plays a crucial role in organizing collaborative initiatives to assist refugee learners across OSUN’s network of 40 partners, including Arizona State University, American University of Beirut, SOAS, Ashesi University, and many others.