Celebrating our Largest and Most Global Cohort
MIT Refugee Action Hub
In September 2020 the MIT Refugee Action Hub (ReACT) welcomed the newest cohort of our Certificate in Computer and Data Science (CDS) program, wrapping up an unprecedented year the same way we began it—with a virtual gathering. The online graduation ceremony that we held in January and the three-day online orientation welcoming our third CDS class bookend a year in which much has changed.
For ReACT, some of the changes brought by 2020 have been unexpectedly for the better. Earlier in the year, as education around the world began moving into virtual spaces, we strove to adapt, innovating ways to deliver the same quality educational and collaborative experiences that have been the hallmark of our programs. When ReACT launched in 2017, we were able to offer a blended learning experience out of Amman, Jordan. Our students came primarily from the MENA region. Since then, we have sought to develop versions of our programs that could reach more learners. Adapting the CDS program to a fully online format has been a silver lining of 2020, allowing ReACT to reach a more global cohort—and in a time when they need to provide free learning opportunities to displaced and vulnerable populations wherever they are is stronger than ever. Selected from over 700 applicants, the 50 new learners in ReACT’s 2021 class come from twenty-two countries. They represent almost every continent in the world and, together, make 25 YEAR IN REVIEW STORIES up our largest and most global class to date. Now in the first leg of their yearlong journey to mastering 21st-century skills such as computer programming, data analysis, collaboration, and entrepreneurship, members of ReACT’s new class bring to the CDS program a rich diversity of experiences, perspectives, and talents.
With the support of internal partners at MIT, the Western Union Foundation, and other external supporters like Paper Airplanes and Na’amal, ReACT continues to grow our global hubs, building networks of NGOs, philanthropic supporters, companies, universities, alumni, and mentors to support learners where they are. We are also working with different organizations on workshops related to digital learning in remote or low-bandwidth settings—like refugee camps— as well as efforts to connect refugee talent to opportunities for dignified employment. As we refine our blended learning model and mode of engaging with regional hubs, we plan to develop a playbook of best practices.
At MIT ReACT, we are excited to see our students coming from all over the world to learn together, to become a part of our global network, and to create new hubs of learning in regions as diverse as Colombia, Uganda, Ethiopia, the United States, and Jordan.
To read other stories from the 2020 CLCC Yearbook, click here