“The other one percent – higher education in forced displacement”

Side event of the 69th meeting of the UNHCR Standing Committee

UNHCR Executive Committee’s Standing Committee meets three times each year to examine “thematic issues included by the plenary in its programme of work, reviews UNHCR’s activities and programmes in the different regions (as well as its global programmes), adopts appropriate decisions and conclusions on issues included by the plenary in its programme of work, and discusses other issues that it deems of concern.”

At one of the side events of the Standing Committee meeting, Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) was represented by Ms. Grace Muvunyi, a student in JWL’s Diploma in Liberal Arts Program.  “The other one percent” side event discussed “the importance of higher education opportunities for refugees”.  Along with Grace, government representatives from Germany and Japan as well as from the University of Geneva discussed their experiences and highlighted the positive impact higher education programmes have, not only on individual students but also on their local communities.  Grace praised JWL’s Diploma Programme, saying “it made me a role model in the community for young people, the girls!  They say to me, ‘if you can make, then I can also make it’”.  She continued, “I gained a lot of respect from the elders, who asked me to contribute to the community.  With this higher education, my dream becomes real, to become a better woman for others.”   The positive impact JWL is having with its Diploma Programme in refugee camps, like in Kakuma, Kenya where Grace lives, is a strong motivation for JWL to continue its mission of providing equitable high quality tertiary learning to people and communities at the margins of societies.