UNHCR Summer School in Geneva

Published: Monday 10th August 2015

Maya Cranitch has recently returned from Geneva where she served as an invited as a member of the international faculty at a Summer School on Higher Education in Emergencies (29 June – 7 July), held at the University of Geneva.

Maya is the coordinator of the ACU Diploma in Liberal Studies program on the Thai Burma border.  ACU is recognised as a leader in supporting access to tertiary education by young people in protracted refugee situations.

The Summer School grew out of 2014 Round Table discussions in Nairobi and Geneva, in which ACU participated.

The Summer School faculty also included academics from Geneva, Kenyatta, York, and Purdue Universities, all of which are involved in delivering tertiary education to refugees.  

Representatives from Jesuit Commons Higher Education at the Margins, the UN International Network for Education in Emergencies, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees were in attendance.

The 20 students came from a variety of countries including Turkey, Kenya, Rwanda, Jordan, Azerbaijan and Myanmar and were employed by NGOs such as UNHCR and the Queen Rania Foundation, and government organisations such as the British Council; they included academics as well as research students.

The Summer School was based on a flipped classroom model and was highly interactive with a daily lecture followed by small group sessions using case studies, debates and discussion.  

Maya participated as a facilitator for these sessions and delivered a lecture entitled ‘Connected Learning’.  She was also invited to be the Summer School faculty member on the jury adjudicating the final case study presentations made by students.  

On the last day, there was a ‘google hangout’ session attended by a global audience of 72 as well as the Summer School participants.The quality of the learning outcomes can be gauged from this comment by Professor Barbara Moser Mercer, Director of Inzone and the Summer School: “We conducted a first rapid feedback exercise between UNHCR and InZone and concluded that this is a course worth repeating, that it helped shape the new field of HEiE by bringing together a group of actors with extensive academic and field experience who are dedicated to providing innovative and sustainable solutions in challenging humanitarian contexts."