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Photo Credit: Mastercard Foundation


Launched in 2012, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is a global initiative designed to develop the next generation of transformative leaders by enabling highly talented, service-oriented young people, primarily young Africans, to pursue their higher education and cultivate their leadership potential. The Scholars Program supports young people who face the highest economic and social barriers to opportunity, including women, displaced youth, and young people living with disabilities.

To date, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program has supported the learning and leadership journeys of over 45,000 young people. The Foundation works with over 50 like-minded and mission-driven university partners and NGOs to ensure that young people receive a quality education, transition smoothly to dignified and fulfilling work, and live transformative lives. Our alumni are starting businesses, creating jobs, and using technology to tackle critical challenges like climate change and health care.

By 2030, the program will double its impact and reach over 100,000 scholars. To scale our efforts, we are partnering with new universities and ecosystem stakeholders, most of which are based in Africa. Together, we will support a new era of economic prosperity and African-led growth.


Photo Credit: GERE


Led by Jigsaw and Refugee Education UK (REUK), Global Evidence for Refugee Education (GERE) is an applied research initiative that places young refugee researchers at the forefront of educational change. Our mission extends beyond building better evidence and improving decision-making on refugee education; we aim to transform how refugee education research is conducted, including who conducts it. To achieve this, we enroll refugee youth in an internationally accredited, graduate-level Applied Research certificate program. This program seamlessly integrates online and in-person components and engages students in rigorous refugee education research. Through this comprehensive approach, refugee youth attain the skills, experience, and professional qualifications they need to contribute to the evidence base and pursue careers in research.

GERE draws upon insights from a 3-year longitudinal study called ‘Voices of Refugee Youth.’ This study addressed gaps in the current evidence base related to post-primary refugee education. It involved 31 Pakistan and Rwandan refugees who simultaneously participated in an Applied Research blended learning program, which was developed in partnership with Centreity and accredited by John Carroll University.

In the coming years, GERE aims to empower a substantial number of refugee youth with the skills and credentials needed to conduct rigorous research, access employment, and pursue meaningful careers in research. In doing so, GERE enhances the representation of refugees in the global research sphere, ensuring they have a central voice in shaping the programs and policies that affect their lives.

Photo Credit: IDEL


Established in 2018, Instructional Design for E-Learning (IDEL) operates as a working group within the CLCC. IDEL is dedicated to improving instructional design and the quality of learning experiences for refugees, asylum-seekers, stateless individuals, and other marginalized students. We work with governments, universities, foundations, and development organizations to improve the higher education landscape for diverse student populations.

In recent years, IDEL has performed university needs assessments, facilitated policy roundtables, and conducted capacity-building workshops for various higher education stakeholders. Through these efforts, IDEL has contributed to the creation of numerous online courses, informed the development of new programs and initiatives, and provided training to hundreds of government officials and practitioners in best practices related to blended learning, differentiated instruction, and student-centered pedagogy.

Photo Credit: Yao Hui


The University of Edinburgh is dedicated to enhancing the accessibility of higher education for refugees. Leveraging our proficiency in research, digital education, and comprehensive support, we actively contribute to a number of diverse university projects and initiatives. These include:

  • Supporting African higher education institutions to develop suitable digital education programs for displaced populations. With funding from the Mastercard Foundation, the inaugural cohort will be selected from 6 Ugandan universities.
  • The Foundation For All (FFA) program is a blended bridging program tailored to refugees in Uganda. In partnership with the Refugee Law Project, the American University in Beirut, and the Mastercard Foundation, the University of Edinburgh helped develop a comprehensive Toolkit to guide the design and implementation of blended bridging programs.
  • The University of Edinburgh facilitated continued academic development and online professional network building for scholars in exile in partnership with the Council for At-Risk Academics (Cara) Syria program.

In addition to these initiatives, the university also runs its own Mastercard Foundations Scholars Program, which supports 85 refugee scholars pursuing post-graduate studies via distanced learning. To support our scholars and inform our education efforts, the University of Edinburgh leverages its deep expertise in trauma-informed pedagogy and other Refugee and At Risk Scholar Supports. Additionally, the University actively supports staff and student-led initiatives that support refugees. One of these projects is the Syrian Futures project, which collaborates with stakeholders within and beyond the University to facilitate higher education and employment opportunities.

Finally, the University of Edinburgh is committed to engaging in nationwide discussions that recognize higher education institutions’ pivotal role in promoting refugee inclusion domestically and internationally. Collaborating with partners throughout the UK, we strive to fortify our cross-university strategy, aiming to expand and enhance support for displaced learners across all professional and academic services.

Photo Credit: University of St. Thomas


Syrian Youth Empowerment (SYE) Initiative, a refugee-founded and led organization, seeks to revive the possibility of pursuing higher education for those impacted by conflicts in Syria and Iraq. SYE offers students the necessary support to highlight their achievements and secure admission as well as scholarships to universities worldwide through a digitally delivered one-on-one mentoring program. To deliver this personalized support, we leverage the talents and passions of Syrian and Iraqi expatriates and their networks.

SYE presently spearheads multiple initiatives, such as our high school preparation program, undergraduate access program, and graduate program. Furthermore, all our resources are conveniently available to students digitally through our Open Source Program. To remove financial barriers to education access, SYE also partners with Duolingo English Test and College Board. Notably, thanks to the generous support from Rhodes and Schmidt Futures, SYE has been able to assist students in conflict zones in navigating the Rise scholarship competition.

Over the past 8 years, SYE has supported over a thousand high school and university-age students inside and outside Syria, internally displaced, asylees, and refugees. Following their engagement with SYE, these students have successfully enrolled in universities globally, including prestigious institutions like the University of Cambridge, Harvard, Stanford, Rice, University of British Columbia, McGill, Bard Berlin, and others. SYE also nurtures a community of over 150 volunteers and thousands of alumni, contributing to the thriving SYE network that supports post-college success.

Photo Credit: SNHU


Southern New Hampshire University’s Global Education Movement (SNHU GEM) offers refugees the opportunity to earn U.S.-accredited bachelor’s degrees and gain real-world, professional experience that open pathways to employment and brighter, more secure lives. Together with refugees and our in-country partners, we are creating a world where all refugees and displaced persons can access high-quality higher education, dignified employment, and the skills to become leaders in their communities and beyond.

SNHU GEM operates 12 sites in 5 countries across Africa and the Middle East. We partner with in-country organizations to reach refugees where they are, offering them flexible, competency-based education and wraparound academic and livelihood support. Since its founding in 2017, SNHU GEM has served over 2,600 learners, and today has more than 1,000 students enrolled across our sites.

Our competency-based curriculum prioritizes learning outcomes rather than time spent in a classroom and allows students to conduct their studies at their own pace, based on their unique, individual needs. We emphasize career readiness with degrees aligned with the skills today’s employers are looking for, as well as hands-on, practical experience that makes SNHU GEM graduates competitive in local and global job markets. More than 85% of our graduates report securing meaningful employment within 6 months of graduation, transforming their lives, and ultimately strengthening their communities.

Photo Credit: Ali Khedr


Mosaik Education was established in 2018. We help refugees access tertiary education through online and blended programs that prepare refugees for higher education.

Although there has been an increase in tertiary education opportunities for refugees – online and in-person — young refugees are often unaware of these opportunities or lack the prerequisites to access them. Our programs address these barriers by providing refugee youth with academic guidance and counseling, English language skills, and mental health and psychosocial support. These programs use open online tools, on-site facilitation, and critical pedagogies to ensure they are accessible and contextually relevant to the participants.

Over the last 4 years, our programs have expanded to Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Mosaik enrolls over 700 learners annually in its Guidance Program. Within 6 weeks, 69% of participants had used the skills to access new opportunities, and within 6 months, 37% of learners reported being accepted into a tertiary education opportunity. In addition to our core programming, we also offer student-centered teacher training programs.

This year, Mosaik Education is working with refugee youth and refugee-led community organizations to expand our programs across the Middle East, Europe, and East Africa. Mosaik will also roll out its online English teacher training and tools in the Middle East and the UK to enhance existing language learning programs by introducing communicative and dialogic activities.

Photo Credit: Nicky Newman


The UpLearn program seeks to empower individuals on the move by facilitating access to higher education. In collaboration with Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), the program offers competency-based degrees that blend online and in-person learning. To further support our learners, UpLearn provides a suite of wraparound services, including academic advisory services, on-site tutors, life skills training, and psychosocial support. This comprehensive approach builds upon students’ strengths while also providing critical support services to address the unique challenges facing displaced learners.

UpLearn further empowers students through our Employment Access program, which boosts their job readiness and improves employment prospects. Since 2018, UpLearn has successfully graduated over 150 students with both associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. Our graduates have gone on to pursue advanced education, secure employment, and assume leadership roles within their communities.

Photo Credit: MIT ReACT


The MIT Refugee Action Hub (ReACT) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was founded in 2017 by Faculty Director Professor Admir Masic. Inspired by his personal experience of forced migration, MIT ReAct aims to identify innovative solutions that expand learning opportunities for displaced populations worldwide.

MIT ReACT’s flagship program, the Certificate in Computer and Data Science (CDS) program, is a free education pathway for refugee learners wherever they currently live. Harnessing MIT’s resources and integrating online learning with experiential opportunities, the program provides learners with agile education-to-employment pathways.

MIT ReACT is broadening its reach with the launch of Emerging Talent, which offers global education programs to talented individuals from the most challenging economic and social circumstances. Our vision is to provide talented learners a platform to advance their skills, leverage their expertise, access a professional career, and become leading change agents in their communities.

MIT ReACT also actively supports advocacy initiatives aimed at addressing systemic challenges related to refugee rights, particularly their access to education and employment. To amplify our advocacy efforts, MIT ReACT co-hosted the Migration Summit in both 2022 and 2023. This impactful event convened hundreds of stakeholders, including universities, NGOs, foundations, researchers, policymakers, and the private sector. Together, they explored key challenges and opportunities for refugee and migrant communities.

Photo Credit: Kiron


Since 2015, Kiron has been dedicated to providing refugees and underserved communities with free access to high-quality education This commitment stems from the recognition that forcibly displaced individuals often face obstacles in accessing education and employment, which can impede their efforts to rebuild their lives and leave them vulnerable to poverty. Through our programs, we seek to equip refugees with the skills they need to access and thrive in the job market.

Through our virtual learning platform, Kiron Campus, refugees can engage in self-paced certification courses and earn micro-credentials from renowned educational providers. Learners can also access language learning, mentoring, and upskilling programs to prepare them for the job market. 100, 000 students have passed through Kiron Campus’ virtual doors since its inception.

Currently, Kiron maintains offices in both Germany and Jordan and collaborates with a network of NGOs and partners to facilitate local learning initiatives. These initiatives are designed to advance refugee employment, foster social mobility, and promote integration within the community.

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