Why we do it?

The global number of forcibly displaced people – refugees and internally displaced people – has reached a record high since World War II and has exceeded 68.5 Million in 2017.  Conflicts are the main causes of forcible displacement. The root causes of the many conflicts in the Middle East and Central Asia, the Sahel Zone, the horn and the heart of Africa, the Great Lakes Region, are manifold: political, economic, ethnical and religious extremism and the struggle for identity. Repression is another feature of volatile and poor countries and of conflicts.  The regions and countries in the world with a high conflict potential and open conflicts are in most cases identical with the countries with a low Human Development Index. Low education, the low average number of school years per citizen, is a key indicator together with low life expectancy and poverty and a low per capita income. 

In particular, lack tertiary education is a root cause to poverty, despair, extremism and war. Education is a key instrument and indicator of Human Development, economic growth and peace. Education which fosters the freedom of critical thinking and analytical reasoning maintains human dignity and freedom, and is the foundation for rebuilding open societies.  Investing in education is investing in peace and development of humanity.  

Forcibly displaced people are the victims of bad politics, repression and the dynamics of conflicts. They have a very high motivation to learn, to keep their spirit open and to build again a more peaceful world, to build a new life be it at home, in the host country or a country of resettlement. However, less than 1% of refugees have access to higher education. This needs to be seen against the fact that more than half of the refugees are below age 18 and children. Investing in the education of refugees and those living at the margins of society is now more urgent than ever. 

Human Development Index 2016

The countries with a low human development Index (UNDP), which is below 0.7 out of 1 are shown in the map presented. The people in these many countries are not just suffering from a low per-capita income, from a low life expectancy and from a low average number of years in school. But many of these countries do suffer from great political volatility, dictatorship and repression and conflicts. 

The simple conclusive formula ‘low education – high conflict’ gives some important insight in the root causes of conflicts and forced displacement and poverty and migration in our world. Lack of education and a low level of knowledge, skills and educated leadership are not just a principle root cause, but the result of conflicts. Dictators and wars attack first of all the education systems, destroy schools, drive girls out of schools and drive the educated elite away. Wars are often about education and attacking education. 

The strategy of JWL is to make higher education accessible to those who are losing out on it and who have a deep interest and motivation to bring about changes, to transform the world into a more peaceful and humane space.

Our Impact

JWL works on the “frontiers” in the pursuit of faith through the promotion of justice, dynamically nurturing cultural and interreligious dialogue and reconciliation. JWL’s motto seeks to foster a community of global learners committed to “Learning Together to Transform the World”.  

To achieve the greatest impact for transformational change locally and regionally, JWL works in communities such as refugee camps, rural villages and towns. JWL takes also a regional approach having in one region or country several community learning centers. This way JWL students and graduates have a critical number to make a difference one day.  The core regional areas are Middle East - Iraq, Jordan, Afghanistan, Africa, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.





JWL focuses on the countries with a low human development where most of the people live at the margins in their countries and our world.  JWL is working closely with local partners to bring educational programs that meet their specific needs - enhancing our students’ ability to positively impact their community by 

  • Increasing their confidence 
  • Enriching their critical thinking skill set
  • Increasing their ability to approach community conflicts and discord in a peaceful way
  • Improving their employment perspectives
  • Better equipped to start and run a business

It is said, that one JWL student touches the life of about two hundred people in their community.

Dr. Mary McFarland

Former International President of JWL