Advancing education for all: Lessons learned at the IIE PEER Forum

Advancing Education for All


The IIE PEER Forum gathered education in emergencies professionals to discuss proactive solutions to the equity gap in higher education for refugee and displaced students. Amid many engaging and thoughtful discussions, these are lessons learned from the first annual event. 

1. Empowering one person empowers a whole community

Keynote speaker, Ekhlas Ahmed shares how her empowerment has had a trickle down benefit to the Sudanese community at home and abroad. 




2. Some displaced students need help learning how to learn

Salim Salamah, education in emergencies consultant and former refugee from Syria, discusses his adjustment to a new education system.



3. The university application system cannot be one-size fits all

Lok Darjee is a former refugee who started Project R, a university admission advising programs that helps local refugees gain university admission. He discusses why the application system can be so hard to understand.





Tanya Kimball Genn, Higher Education and Youth Services Manager at IRIS shares her experience with admission mentorships in her New Haven community.




4. Create successful partnerships through mission driven conversations

Jonathan Lembright, Regional Director of IIE Southeast Asia, has built successful university partnerships with universities in the Asia Pacific region for IIE PEER PREP. Find out how:




5. Refugees must have a seat at the table! 

Belma Sadikovic, Assistant Professor at University of Minnesota Moorhead and former refugee, urges policy makers and humanitarian efforts to include refugees as their own agents of change.




6. You are accountable not just to the student but their whole community

Charley Wright, Connected Learning Specialist at the UNHCR shares accountability mechanisms not just for an individual student but their community.




7. Let's create the "Rhodes" scholarship for refugees 

Allan Goodman, IIE President and CEO, answers the question: What would you do with one hundred million dollars?




8. Don't stop raising your fist and fighting the good fight! 

John Sexton, President Emeritus of New York University reminds us all to keep fighting. 







Created by Sixtine Berquist, Global Education in Emergencies Analyst, IIE PEER


Credit: All photographs by Steven Rosen Photography |