The RESCUE project has been disseminated during the 4th edition of the UNIMED WEEK in BRUSSELS. 

The UNIMED WEEK IN BRUSSELS seeks to propose a political reflection from the Euro-Mediterranean academic community on the role of the European Union in the Mediterranean region, offering a moment of evaluation and revaluation of regional policies.

The UNIMED WEEK IN BRUSSELS 2019 was attended by 102 participants from 23 countries, including 13 European countries (Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and United Kingdom) and 10 extra-EU countries (Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia and Turkey). In particular, this event was attended by 81 representatives from universities (rectors and their deputies, academics, project managers and so on) and associations linked to the academic world and the press as well as by 21 representatives of European and international institutions.

The first dissemination occasion was represented by the 19th March 2019 Meeting with the DG EAC, Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, having as a focus the Erasmus+ programme. The RESCUE project experience was presented by

The day after, (20th of March) RESCUE project animated a workshop on “The changing nature of crisis in the MENA region: The university perspective”. The workshop aimed at underlining how MENA crises are constantly changing: sometimes evolving, sometimes regressing. The crisis we were facing 7 or 4, or even 2 years ago, is not the same type of crisis we have to face nowadays, as Higher Education System practitioners and representatives. For all these reasons, the need to know more on these Higher Education realities and to hear voices directly from the MENA region is always present in order to put, around the same table, people with different perspectives which are, together, able to understand in depth the changing nature of this crisis situation and act accordingly.

Anwar Khawtarani presented updated statistics on the presence of refugees in Lebanon and focused its main attention on how the RESCUE project could support the Project SEAD (S – Social E – Emotional A – Academic D – Development) at Lebanese International University – LIU. Particularly, he stressed the possibility of enhancing LIU’s managerial capacities of SEAD implementation to plan, budget, deliver, monitor and evaluate education services as well as to enhance the quality of education services and learning environment in order to ensure grade-appropriate learning outcomes for youth and children.

Rima Mattar focused her attention on the cooperation between the RESCUE project and the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik’s Counselling Center and related services: Counseling services (individual or group counseling), Crisis intervention and orientation, Confidential short-term counseling groups and workshops term counseling groups, Psychoeducational programs (awareness raising and prevention). The Counselling Center is a new born reality which is necessary in order to answer to the crisis of the Lebanese society as well as to have highly qualified specialists providing psychological support to university students who faced these traumas.

Hani Mimi showed Al-Zaytoonah University’s strategy towards refugees and how the RESCUE project contributed to it. In particular Al-Zaytoonah University – ZUJ networked locally and globally in projects that benefit local and global communities in addition to facilitate cultural understanding with international counterparts by exposing the current situation of refugees, especially students, to the world society. In this sense ZUJ is promoting institutional partnership with UNHCR, HOPES project, SPARK and Norwegian Refugee Council – NRC with the final aim of helping refugee students in resuming their academic training path by accessing the standard curricula on the same basis as all the other students.

Mohammed al-Saoud illustrated the history of the Refugees Study Center at Yarmouk University, established in 1997. He explained why the Refugee center and RESCUE related activities are so relevant for the country. Since the beginning of the Syria Crisis in 2011, Jordan hosts more than 1.25 Million Syrians – half of them as officially registered refugees. 80% are living in the north of kingdom, in Irbid, Amman, Mafraq and Zarqa. Around 16.000 Syrian Students are part of Higher Education Programs in Jordan, which is 6.5 % of the whole number of students in Jordan universities. Nevertheless, only 1/3 of them are studying in public universities. Mohammed al-Saoud focused on the financial needs of Syrian refugees, underlining the lack of financial resources. Indeed, only a few all-inclusive scholarships are available, compared to the number of Syrian refugees who would need one.

Muhammad Abdqulqadir Duhoki presented data and statistics related with North Iraq and Internally Displaced People. During the period June-August 2014, more than 500.000 people have been displaced from Ninewa governorate (Mosul city, Ninewa plain, Zummar and Sinjar areas) toward Duhok governorate, because of the conflict, violence and the occupation by ISIS. He stressed the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and refugees’ presence at its University (800 IDPs and refugee students registered) and reflected on how Duhok Polytechnic University’s R-SOS opening will support the university’s strategies towards refugees and IDPs. A special session of the presentation was dedicated to the Derik High School visit in Domiz 1 camp performed together with UNIMED in order to raise awareness on RESCUE R-SOS activities.

Nazim Irem and Marco Di Donato presented the results of their visits at Azraq and Zaatari camp in Jordan. The visit was performed in order to disseminate the RESCUE project activities and opportunities in the camp, but it has mostly been the opportunity to visit, on first-hand, the Jordanian changing reality of the camps. During the visit of both Azraq and Zaatari, the main problem raised by local refugees has been related to the lack of financial resources and scholarships. The worst situation has been recorded in Azraq, characterized by a severe restriction of freedom of movement. People felt abandoned by international organizations, especially in terms of educational support. The risk of «lost generation» is concrete and it was clear during the meeting with the students. The visit to the camp’s secondary schools revealed the need to create a durable linkage between secondary and tertiary education in terms of both coherence of the educational path and capacity building for teachers. Fragmentation and duplication of initiatives is, unfortunately, a reality.

For the event photogallery please click here