Sixty million people have been displaced by conflict and over 410,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean from the Middle East so far this year. Although the primary responsibility for peace rests with governments, the urgency of the global refugee crisis is a challenge that requires support from all actors in society on a short-, mid- and long-term basis.
One month ago today the PRME Secretariat, together with AACSB, AABS, ABIS, AMBA, CEEMAN, CLADEA, EFMD, GMAC, GRLI and EAUC issued a call to action to business schools and management-related higher education institutions (HEIs) in response to the refugee crisis. The call was made in response to a similar call made by the UN Global Compact and the UN Refugee Agency for business to take action.
The leaders of the international academic community were called to take action and address the refugee crisis by providing access to scholarships to business and entrepreneurship related classes and knowledge resources to refugees but also by raising awareness and understanding regarding the situation of refugees, and foster social cohesion. By joining forces with business, governments, UN agencies, civil society organisations and/or other HEIs, business schools can forge long-term partnerships for education and sustainable development.
The following are just a few of the many ways that business schools are responding to this crisis.
Through Collaborative Solutions
The Centre for Education on Social Responsibility at the Leeds School of Business, CU Boulder (USA) is taking a leadership role by convening relevant groups (local government, non-profits, businesses, and business schools) to address the topic of the responsibility of business and business schools to help address the refugee crisis. The meetings will consider the economic stability, employment for refugees and benefits to local employers within the Denver and Boulder business and civic communities.
By Engaging Students and Staff
ALBA Graduate Business School (Greece) collected information on how individuals can help the incoming refugees that was sent to all students, alumni, faculty and staff. Among other things, it gave directions on how to collect items and send them to the NGOs. ALBA has already offered an MBA full scholarship to a young refugee from Africa
The French Education & Research Ministry made a recent appeal to universities in France to propose solutions and actions that would facilitate the welcoming and integration of Syrian, Iraqi and Eritrean refugees. Grenoble Ecole de Management (France) has extended their criteria for the school’s volunteer skills-sharing policy to encourage GEM employees to dedicate 1- 5 days a year of their work-time to help welcome and integrate newly arrived refugees in collaboration with local associations and humanitarian organisations. GEM’s annual Geopolitical Festival in March 2016 will also highlight this urgent issue by hosting a range of activities focused that will examine and discuss the causes, the consequences and potential sustainable and human-focused solutions to this global crisis.
Roughly 3000 refugees are accommodated in Leipzig at an emergency camp located next campus. HHL – Leipzig Graduate School of Management (Germany) opened a collecting point for donations, which are allocated to the refugees. Financial donations received via their graduate students will be used to purchase picture dictionaries in order to support language efforts. Fifteen language interpreters from across campus coordinated the matching of language interpreters with activities. One of these activities is “Neighbour meets Neighbour”, where the refugees can introduce their regional food to students and staff on campus and get in touch with the community. Another initiative has also been put in place to host indoor activities for the refugees at campus, such as a seminar room for a Refugee Law Clinic. HHL is currently organising a field project where students will work for three months with refugee support coordination bodies and a PhD thesis is underway focusing on opportunities and challenges of labour market inclusion for Germany is also in progress. The School is also planning trainings and mini courses aimed at supporting the necessary qualifications of the refugees.
Hanken School of Economics (Finland) hosts the Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Research Institute (HUMLOG Institute), which is a joint research institute founded by Hanken School of Economics and the National Defence University of Finland. The aim of the HUMLOG Institute is to “to research the area of humanitarian logistics in disaster preparedness, response and recovery with the intention of influencing future activities in a way that will provide measurable benefits to persons requiring assistance”. Through this Institute, Hanken offers a course on humanitarian logistics and students in the course have been encouraged to volunteer to help in coping with the current refugee crisis. They are currently exploring the opportunity to have one project on the refugee crisis in the course this year.
- Alfred Nobel Open Business School (China) will provide five scholarships to their online e-MBA for registered and selected refugees having business background.
- Euclid University (Gambia) will be announcing specific full and partial scholarship programmes for qualifying displaced persons and refugees.
- Haaga-Helia University (Finland) has a proposal a special intake for refugees to study entrepreneurship, languages, sales and service skills as well as career planning. After these studies, they could be admitted as regular students.
- ESAN Graduate School of Business (Peru) will offer three scholarships to refugees.
- University of Warsaw (Poland) will provide an access to business and entrepreneurship related classes and a number of scholarships will be offered.
- University of Strathclyde Business School (UK) is developing a scholarship with the Scottish Refugee Council intended to help asylum seekers and those staying in the UK on humanitarian grounds.
- SDA Bocconi School of Management (Italy) already offers two open courses (strategy and finance) free of charge aimed at increasing the employability of young people. This course will now also be open to refugees.
- Grenoble Ecole de Management (France) will offer admission to 5-10 qualified student refugees to study in one of the schools’ programmes.
To submit your pledge visit https://business.un.org/pledge_refugee_crisis