Educating a World on the Move




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Dec 18, 2019
by Barbara Holzapfel
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Educating a World on the Move

In celebration of International Migrants Day, Microsoft's Barbara Holzapfel reflects on her latest Salzburg Global program and the humanitarianism and technology panel she moderated Humanitarianism and Technology panel with Jim Pedrech, Mark Sparvell, Carmela Francolino, Andrea Fahed, and Barbara Holzapfel

This article was first published on Barbara Holzapfel's LinkedIn profile.

Today is International Migrant Day, a day to recognize the efforts, contributions, and needs of migrants worldwide. There are now over 70 million refugees and internally displaced people in the world, and more than half of them are children. Access to a quality education is a fundamental human right, and the fact that issues like conflicts and climate change are disrupting the education of so many young people is staggering. Fortunately, there are important groups and organizations that are working to develop and implement solutions.

One such organization is the Salzburg Global Seminar. I recently had the privilege to attend their “Education Workforce Opportunities for Refugees and Migrants” program. The attendees were an inspiring group of international educators, policymakers, and innovators who share the goal of improving access to quality education for displaced youth. When incredible people such as Emma Bonar, youth specialist with the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jim Pedrech, ambassador for Project Kakuma, Kathleen Heugh, associate professor of applied linguistics with the University of South Australia, Andrea Fahed, education coordinator for Lebanese Alternative Learning, and Ella Ininahazwem, a refugee guidance counselor from Kepler, Rwanda bring their unique and diverse perspectives together in a setting designed to facilitate discussion and action, potential solutions to some very difficult challenges can emerge.

As part of the “Humanitarianism and Technology” panel, we explored opportunities to leverage technology to help displaced youth continue their educational journey by accessing new and innovative learning formats, and discussed technology solutions to help migrant and refugee students navigate languages and gain access to educational services. At the close of the week, statements of action were drafted to express the group’s commitment to address issues such as increasing accessibility, and promoting student well-being in refugee/migrant education programs through a focus on multilingualism and social-emotional learning (SEL). Today, and every day, it is important to remember the displaced people whose access to education is limited or nonexistent, and the groups that are trying to change that. Lastly, I’d like to thank the Salzburg Global Seminar again for the important work that they do.

To keep up with what we’re doing to support learners and educators around the world, visit our Education blog. #SGSEdu, #SEL, #MicrosoftEDU

The Salzburg Global Seminar program, Education and Workforce Opportunities for Refugees and Migrants, was part of the Education for Tomorrow’s World multi-year series. The program was held in partnership with ETS, Microsoft, Qatar Foundation International, Porticus, and the LEGO Foundation.