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Queen attends meeting exploring global responses to refugee education crisis

Philanthropists, business leaders, donor institutions and development organisations come together

By JT - Sep 19,2019 - Last updated at Sep 19,2019

Her Majesty Queen Rania attends a high-level meeting on refugee education in Amman on Thursday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — The Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development (QRF), Save the Children and the MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL) convened a high-level meeting on refugee education in Amman on Thursday, addressing one of the critical humanitarian issues born out of the global refugee crisis.

Held under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania, the meeting brought together philanthropists, business leaders, donor institutions, and international and regional development organisations, and was chaired by Hassan Jameel, Community Jameel President, and Kevin Watkins, Save the Children UK Chief Executive Officer, according to a statement from Her Majesty’s office.

The Amman meeting followed a high-level roundtable held at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2019, which the Queen also attended, and which was chaired by Hassan Jameel and Helle Thorning Schmidt, then chief executive officer of Save the Children International and former prime minister of Denmark. The meeting was also part of the build-up to the Global Refugee Forum, which will be held in Geneva in December by the UNHCR.

Speaking at the roundtable, Hassan Jameel, Community Jameel President, said: “At Community Jameel, we recognise the importance of education. By supporting teachers’ wellbeing, in conjunction with improving quality teaching practices and student learning, we have the opportunity to re-establish the transformative role of education in vulnerable children's lives.”

Save the Children UK Chief Executive Kevin Watkins said: “Save the Children is celebrating 100 years of humanitarian and development experience and we are delighted to be partnering with such high-level, global philanthropists on this critical agenda.

“Over half of the world’s 25 million refugees are children. If those children were a single country, that country would be the country with the world’s worst education indicators. More than half of the world’s school-aged refugee children — 4 million in total — are out of school. These children are being denied a source of hope for the future and the passport to a better future. This is one of the greatest moral challenges facing our generation; and turning a blind eye is not an option.” 

Among the attendees were senior representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UAE-based Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, the Saudi-based Alwaleed Philanthropies, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Islamic Development Bank, the LEGO Foundation, Schmidt Futures and the World Bank.

Jordan has a strong track record of welcoming and supporting refugees, and has become a leading venue for innovation in humanitarian development. Contributing to the country’s efforts in this field are QRF’s various technology-driven solutions to development challenges, including the foundation’s online education initiative, Edraak.

Following its initial launch by the Queen as an adult learning platform, Edraak partnered with and the Jack Ma Foundation to launch a K-12 platform, providing quality Arabic education materials to both children and adults, accessible for free to refugees and others across the region. 

Another programme, the Transforming Refugee Education towards Excellence (TREE) initiative, received a major boost with the announcement on Monday that philanthropic organisation Dubai Cares had committed $ 1.5 million to the programme.

TREE is an initiative of Save the Children and MIT J-WEL being piloted in Jordan, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and in collaboration with Community Jameel and Dubai Cares. Over a five-year period, it aims to equip Jordanian teachers with skills to deliver effective teaching, and to help students suffering from trauma overcome challenges. 

Established by Queen Rania in 2013, QRF aims to improve education outcomes in Jordan and the surrounding region, focusing its efforts on a range of overlapping areas including early childhood care and development, innovation in learning and teacher training. The foundation conducts education research and supports policy makers as they develop education programmes.

Community Jameel was established in 2003 to uphold the legacy of the late Abdul Latif Jameel, who supported and uplifted the disadvantaged in his community throughout his lifetimme. Community Jameel runs its programmes worldwide, collaborating with major international institutions and grassroots organisations, according to the statement.

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