A Decade of Community

Educational Experience

In 2015, 59 students in the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya received a York University certificate of completion in educational studies, becoming the first graduates of a unique program designed to take postsecondary education to where refugees live.

Oct. 14, 2015 – The enormous achievement of these refugees will be recognized during the annual convocation ceremony for Faculty of Education graduates at York’s Keele campus.

The students from Dadaab – a sprawling group of camps with 350,000 refugees − are not able to attend York’s ceremony. However, they were taught by members of York’s Faculty of Education, who travelled to the camps to teach courses in person and also offered courses online. They have completed 30 university credits, similar to bachelor of education students at York.

The new certificate program is offered to students who live in Dadaab and in communities nearby as part of the Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) project, led by York U anthropology Professor Wenona Giles and education Professor Don Dippo and hosted by York’s Centre for Refugee Studies.

At a time of unprecedented concern about refugees worldwide, the BHER project is a symbol of York University’s commitment to social justice.

“I often like to say that York is a university without borders, and this collaborative higher education project perfectly exemplifies that claim,” said York University President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. “The accomplishment of these students is powerful proof of one of the highest aims of education − and, in this sense, their remarkable story is in some ways shared by all of our graduating students − which is that an education holds the promise of a better life.”

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