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On the World Refugee Day 2024

A few days ago, speaking to a friend from Yemen about my childhood memories of having tea with my grandmother in the very same café where we were meeting that day, she suddenly told me: that’s it, this is what I miss, a place that I can call home. I was born in Yemen but moved to Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Egypt, Lebanon and Italy. Now I am here in Portugal but about to leave. I have no home. I am the one born with a suitcase, always on the move, coming from somewhere and at risk of going nowhere.

On World Refugee Day 2024, Nexus 3.0 is proud to renew its commitment to boost education, science, arts, and culture opportunities for young people fleeing conflicts, violence, and crisis settings. We firmly believe these pillars are about knowledge and skills and rebuilding hope for the future. They are the tools that can transform a life, a community, and even a nation.

In emergencies and contexts of fragility, education matters more than ever. It offers protection and contributes to the self-resilience of young people and communities. Home to the critical 18-30 age group, higher education, in particular, plays a unique role in crises as a powerful drive for change and a catalyst to recovery. War-torn countries and host communities need a skilled workforce to move forward and overcome common challenges ahead.

We live in an interconnected world where problems anywhere are problems everywhere at a time when mobility – be it free or forced – remains a crucial feature of most societies.

The UNHCR estimates that in 2024, forcibly displaced and stateless people will reach the staggering figure of 130.8 million due notably to the “devastating new conflict in Sudan, continued misery in Ukraine, a string of coups in the Sahel region, more violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, displacement in Myanmar and a renewed conflict in Gaza that has raised risks across the region.”

Urgent action is needed in solidarity with all those affected by these crises. More coordinated initiatives and enhanced partnerships will allow us to do more, better and faster. For higher education, UNHCR and its partners are committed to achieving enrolment of 15% of refugee youth. Yet, there is a long way to go before meeting this target.

As the 2024-2025 academic year is about to begin, let us join efforts to deliver expanded scholarship programs to refugees and students forcibly displaced—in particular, girls and young women—as well as online education opportunities and connected learning initiatives. Together with all partners, including higher education institutions, the support of the academic community, student constituencies and associations, public entities, philanthropies, and the private sector, we can make a difference by unleashing everyone’s potential and improving lives.

This opportunity doesn’t come our way daily, so on this World Refugee Day, let’s commit to realizing our ambition. Join up!