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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.

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