The world’s current refugee crisis is unprecedented not only in scale — with 65 million displaced, the highest number on record — but also in demographics: unlike in previous decades, many are from middle-class backgrounds. Fleeing one’s country vastly reduces chances of getting a degree: Globally, less than 1 percent of university-aged refugees of all nationalities are in tertiary education, according to the UNHCR, compared to 32 percent among the general population.
In February, the Syria donors conference directed attention toward resilience and rebuilding, including educating refugees as future engineers, doctors and other professionals. But this is no small task. Those fleeing war often leave behind the documents they need to apply.
“The problem is so multifaceted and tremendous that we need a multitude of different approaches,” said James King.