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SNHU GEM Breaks Down Barriers to Education at RewirED 2021

Students from sites in Africa and the Middle East participated in the education summit to discuss how SNHU GEM is breaking down barriers and the transformative power of education.

This week students from SNHU’s Global Education Movement (SNHU GEM) participated in the RewirED 2021 Summit in Dubai. The summit aimed to identify solutions “to rewire education for a prosperous and sustainable future.”

SNHU has been on the leading edge of this movement for many years, expanding access to higher education by creating high quality, affordable and unique pathways to meet the needs of every learner. The SNHU GEM program exemplifies this mission as the first large-scale online learning program for refugees. 

Increasing refugee access to higher education is critical to achieving inclusive and equitable education for all. In 2020, only 5% of refugees had access to higher education – up from 3% in 2019. UNHCR and its partners set a goal to increase enrollment in higher education among refugees to 15% by 2030. 

At RewirED, SNHU GEM and partner organizations including, UNHCR and the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education highlighted the need to break down barriers to education for refugees and those in emergency and conflict settings, including building sustainable financing models, integrating critical professional skills and competencies into education, and scaling up creative solutions to increase access to higher education.  

SNHU GEM alumni Nour Maaz (second from left) and Alix Marie Himbaza (far right) were panelists during the RewirED 2021 session, “Connected Education Refugee Challenge.”

Our students shared how hands-on professional training through internships and earning an accredited, internationally-recognized degree from SNHU GEM empowered them to transform their lives. They were inspiring advocates for why we must continue our efforts to expand access to higher education for refugees and those in emergency and conflict settings. 

“I am here presenting the challenges that refugees meet to access higher education,” said Alix Marie Himbaza, an SNHU GEM and Kepler Rwanda graduate. “I am giving a voice to other refugees who don’t know about or get access to great opportunities. We need more opportunities of scholarship and to invest in youth – we are the future of this coming world.”

RewirED emphasized that education must transform if we are to ensure a future where inclusive, quality education is accessible to all. For many forced to leave their homes for myriad reasons, education and dignified employment seem unattainable. At SNHU GEM, our students and alumni are proof that talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. When these young people have access to higher education, they are empowered to become change agents, lifting up others around them and benefiting the broader community. 

We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in RewirED and team up with others to identify solutions to transform education. We are committed to expanding equitable access to education so more students like Alix have the opportunity to transform their own outcomes.