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Roundtable Discussion to Explore Ways to Drive Global Response to Refugee Education Crisis

September 9, 2019

(Office of Her Majesty – Press Department – Amman) – The Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development (QRF), Save the Children, and the MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL) convened a high-level meeting on refugee education in Amman on September 9, 2019, addressing one of the critical humanitarian issues born out of the global refugee crisis.

Held under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, the meeting brought together philanthropists, business leaders, donor institutions, and international and regional development organizations, and was chaired by Hassan Jameel, Community Jameel President, and Kevin Watkins, Save the Children UK Chief Executive Officer.

The Amman meeting followed a high-level roundtable held at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2019, which Queen Rania also attended, and which was chaired by Hassan Jameel and Helle Thorning Schmidt, then Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children International and former Prime Minister of Denmark. The meeting was also part of the build-up to the Global Refugee Forum, which will be held in Geneva in December by UNHCR.

Speaking at the roundtable, Hassan Jameel, Community Jameel President, said, “At Community Jameel, we recognize the importance of education. By supporting teachers’ wellbeing, in conjunction with improving quality teaching practices and student learning, we have the opportunity to re-establish the transformative role of education in vulnerable children’s lives.”

Save the Children UK Chief Executive, Kevin Watkins, said, “Save the Children is celebrating 100 years of humanitarian and development experience and we are delighted to be partnering with such high-level, global philanthropists on this critical agenda.

“Over half of the world’s 25 million refugees are children. If those children were a single country, that country would be the country with the world’s worst education indicators. More than half of the world’s school-aged refugee children – 4 million in total – are out of school. These children are being denied a source of hope for the future and the passport to a better future. This is one of the greatest moral challenges facing our generation – and turning a blind eye is not an option.”

Among the attendees were senior representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UAE-based Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, the Saudi-based Alwaleed Philanthropies, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Islamic Development Bank, the LEGO Foundation, Schmidt Futures, and the World Bank.

Jordan has a strong track record of welcoming and supporting refugees, and has become a leading venue for innovation in humanitarian development. Contributing to the country’s efforts in this field are QRF’s various technology-driven solutions to development challenges, including the foundation’s online education initiative, Edraak.

Following its initial launch by Queen Rania as an adult learning platform, Edraak partnered with Google.org and the Jack Ma Foundation to launch a K-12 platform, providing quality Arabic education materials to both children and adults, accessible for free to refugees and others across the region.

Another program, the Transforming Refugee Education towards Excellence (TREE) initiative, received a major boost with the announcement on Monday that philanthropic organization Dubai Cares had committed USD 1.5 million to the program.

TREE is an initiative of Save the Children and MIT J-WEL being piloted in Jordan, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and in collaboration with Community Jameel and Dubai Cares. Over a five-year period, it aims to equip Jordanian teachers with skills to deliver effective teaching, and to help students suffering from trauma overcome challenges.

Established by Queen Rania in 2013, QRF aims to improve education outcomes in Jordan and the surrounding region, focusing its efforts on a range of overlapping areas including early childhood care and dvelopment, innovation in learning, and teacher training. The foundation conducts education research, and supports policy makers as they develop education programs.

Community Jameel was established in 2003 to uphold the legacy of the late Abdul Latif Jameel, who supported and uplifted the disadvantaged in his community throughout his lifetime. Community Jameel runs its programs worldwide, collaborating with major international institutions and grassroots organizations.

Source: www.queenrania.jo

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Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund Announces Grant Recipients of Second Round of Funding

September 3, 2019

  • Fund to disburse AED25 million to organizations supporting the education of over 10,000 young refugees in round two of funding
  • First two of three rounds to see AED74 million supporting the education of over 17,000 youth in Jordan, Lebanon, UAE
  • Fund established by Emirati businessman and philanthropist His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair in 2018 to support refugee students to build sustainable lives with market-relevant education, skills

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: 3 September, 2019 – The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund has announced the grantees of the second round of funding in Dubai today. Following the successful completion of the inaugural round in 2018, the Fund has identified eight beneficiaries from Jordan, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.

The grantees include the Emirates Red Crescent in the UAE, UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency and Relief International in Jordan, and Unite Lebanon Youth Project (ULYP), Beit Atfal Assumoud, Alfanar, Digital Opportunity Trust and War Child Holland in Lebanon.

Established with the aim of supporting thousands of out-of-school young refugees in continuing their education, the second round aims to disburse grants totaling AED25 million to organizations supporting refugee students in Jordan and Lebanon, and children affected by conflicts and disasters who are temporarily residing in the UAE. The announcement coincides with the beginning of the new academic year 2019-2020.

Speaking on the significance of education and upskilling of refugee youth, His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair said: “We believe that education is just as important for refugee youth as food and shelter. It is not just a basic right and necessity, but also a tool for recovery. Going back to school partially restores normalcy for the young people and enables them to obtain knowledge and skills that will help them chart a successful career path and earn a sustainable income.

“Furthermore, education transforms lives and contributes to building holistic and progressive communities. Now more than ever, the private sector needs to come together to create platforms that provide quality, inclusive and equitable education to refugees and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. We should also encourage partnerships between governments, businesses and individuals in boosting available local resources for education.”

He added: “The results and impact of the first round were rewarding and humbling at the same time. Our goal for this round is to reach even more students. We have committed to supporting over 10,000 refugees through the eight grantees in the UAE, Jordan and Lebanon. The focus this year is on secondary-level and vocational education to equip the students with skills that are relevant to the economy and meet labor market demands. Along with our partners, we seek to identify new approaches to long-standing challenges in refugee education that will lead to improved educational outcomes.”

In closing, he said: “We urge other philanthropists, individuals and companies to unite, as it is never too late to build a better future together.”

Local partnership for a sustainable program

For the second consecutive year, the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund will continue to work with the Emirates Red Crescent to finance the school fees of 400 out-of-school children who are temporarily residing in the UAE due to conflicts in their home countries.

New and continued partnerships in Jordan and Lebanon

In Jordan, the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund will join forces with UNHCR to enroll over 1,000 students in English language courses through a blended approach to address one of the biggest challenges they face in pursuing higher education. UNHCR will also support 700 vulnerable non-Syrian refugees to assist them with tuition fees and other hidden educational costs to enable them to continue education.

Commenting on the partnership, Khalid Khalifa, Regional Representative, Gulf Area Officer, UNHCR, said: “’We are honored to partner with Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund on such an important project. Refugee children often face multiple barriers preventing their access to education. This is why it is imperative that we continue working with committed partners to find innovative solutions to tackle the many barriers preventing refugee children from accessing their right to an education.’

Relief International, another grantee in Jordan, will provide 600 students who have dropped out of school or are at the risk of dropping out with access to a non-formal education program accredited by the Government of Jordan. The project focuses on helping young women return to school to complete their formal education.

In Lebanon, Al Fanar will support 3,000 students eligible for grade 8 and 9 in their Brevet (9th grade) exams with quality education at secondary level. The grantee will also offer additional blended coding and programming courses for 160 refugees to qualify them for jobs in the digital economy. Meanwhile, ULYP will support 250 students of grades 7 and 9 in preparing for the brevet (9th Grade) exam. The grantee will also raise awareness on the importance of education among refugee parents.

Similarly, Digital Opportunity Trust will prepare 2,400 young refugees for employment in the digital workspace through enrolling them in CISCO-accredited courses, in addition to courses accredited by Google, Facebook and Microsoft on Digital and Media Literacy, Mobile Application Development, Social Media Marketing, and Robotics, among other subjects. War Child Holland will provide remedial strengthening and language support to 2,000 youngsters in high-concentration refugee communities.

Finally, Beit Atfal Assumoud will utilize the grant to place 220 young people in industry-related apprenticeship programs and assist them in finding formal full-time or freelance employment.

In round one, the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund awarded AED49 million in direct funding to notable educational and humanitarian organizations to enable 6,788 refugee students to attend secondary school, vocational education, and university, as well as to acquire soft skills so that they can realize their aspirations for the future. Round two disburses AED25 million to grantees, bringing the total of both rounds to AED75 million, will see over 10,000 children returning to complete their education at different levels, bringing the total number of students benefiting from the two rounds to over 17,000. The third and final funding round will follow in 2020.

Established by His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Emirati businessman and philanthropist, in 2018, the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund seeks to provide refugee students with market-relevant education and skills to help them build sustainable lives.

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The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund Officially Launched

June 20, 2018

On the occasion of World Refugee Day, His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Emirati businessman and philanthropist, announced the establishment of the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund, a new initiative to benefit refugee youth in Jordan, Lebanon and Arab children affected by wars and disasters residing in the United Arab Emirates. The 100M AED initiative will run for 3 years and will support the education of a minimum of 5000 children and youth.

International funding for refugee education has not been able to keep up with the vast need in the largest host countries. Speaking on the occasion, His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair said: “I established this fund during the Year of Zayed because I believe that philanthropists have a role in helping to support one of the most acute challenges of our region: lack of education opportunities for young people who need it the most. Young people whose education has been interrupted by conflict deserve a chance to rebuild their lives and have a shot at a good future.”

The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund will support high-impact education programs at the secondary, vocational and tertiary levels of education for refugee youth in Jordan and Lebanon. The grants provided by the fund will also support children of families who due to wars and disasters in their home countries, temporarily reside in the UAE but are unable to afford school fees.

The new fund will award grants through a competitive selection process to education institutions and non-governmental organizations working with refugee children and youth from countries affected by wars and disasters. This first round of grants to partner organizations in Jordan, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates will be announced prior to the start of the new school year. The next call for proposals will be in early 2019.

According to UNICEF, over 80% of out-of-school children and youth in the region are affected by conflict. The Syrian conflict has severely exacerbated the situation with 2 million children out of school and hundreds of thousands of youth unable to continue their education.

Applauding this initiative, Filippo Grande, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said “ We welcome the generous commitment by Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair. This significant contribution is in-line with UNHCR’s direction towards a whole-of-society approach where individuals and organizations work hand-in-hand to ensure that people who have been forced to flee are able to rebuild their lives and take control of their futures. The Fund highlights the importance of the Arab world’s business community in creating a positive impact through supporting the region’s displaced communities.”

Commenting on the initiative, Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education said “There can be no better investment in the future of the Arab region than to support the education of the most vulnerable – refugee children and youth. I have long advocated for new partnerships and solutions to address funding education for refugee children and youth. This important initiative will make a difference in the lives of thousands of young people and I am encouraged that other business leaders will follow.”

Elaborating on how the fund will be managed, Maysa Jalbout, Chief Executive Officer of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, said: “We are grateful to our Chairman Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair for entrusting the Foundation in developing and administering this important initiative. The refugee education fund will allow us to reach thousands of children through partnerships with education institutions and non-governmental organizations.”

2018 is the Year of Zayed in the UAE, marking 100 years since the birth of its founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayhan. This initiative is aligned with the values and legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed, whose humanitarian impact transcended boundaries and sowed the seeds for several of today’s philanthropic efforts.

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