Letter From the President

June 2019

Dear Friends,

Last week, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees reported that over 4 million refugees have left Venezuela. In just the seven short months since November 2018, 1 million of them – people like you and me – have joined the exodus. At the end of 2015 that figure was just 695,000. The pace and rate of the migration is staggering.

These numbers make the Venezuela refugee crisis the 2nd largest crisis on our planet today and the 8th largest ever, behind World War II and the partition of India, but on par with Syria, Afghanistan and the Korean War. Like these other refugee crises, Venezuela is a man-made crisis. In other words, it is preventable. Imagine what it is like to give up your home and all your possessions. Imagine walking 5,000 miles – as some are walking to Chile – in search of safety and stability. Imagine your children without education or hope. 

More than ever we need your support for our Refugee Educator Academy. It was only two years ago that our Center for Learning in Practice gathered more than 25 refugee educators and practitioners from across the globe to tackle a global issue: preparing educators in an accelerated and inclusive way so they can meet the demands of a growing refugee crisis. In 24 short months, the Center for Learning in Practice has evolved from a theoretical Sustainable Learning framework to executing its first application, The Refugee Educator Academy. The Refugee Educator Academy has engaged hundreds of educators across 23 countries, building capacity of teachers, migrating offline training online and fostering community and collaboration among refugee educators. In such a short time, we’ve achieved many milestones: developing 23 courses and webinars, being invited to join the UN Global Teacher Task Force 2030, creating a training course with Plan Egypt for teachers of Syrian Refugees, meeting with UNESCO in Paris, working with teachers of refugees in Amman and Berlin and becoming a member of the Refugee & Migrant Education Network.

With the investment of an international funder, we recently started a U.S. pilot for the Refugee Educator Academy in Washington, Arizona and New York and developed five micro-credentials in partnership with Digital Promise – an independent, bipartisan nonprofit, authorized by Congress in 2008 and signed into law by President George W. Bush. We are also certified by the New York State Education Department to be an approved sponsor of Continuing Teacher and Leader Education, allowing New York teachers to earn CTLE-approved credits while developing skills to serve refugee students and families. Our early successes lie with our dedicated team, engaged partners and hardworking teachers. I am both humbled by the success and excited for the future to come. 

The Center for Learning in Practice has done remarkable work creating a framework to address the lack of qualified refugee educators worldwide. We are working hard to meet the demands for this program, including securing the necessary financial resources. The scale of the global refugee crisis is overwhelming, but you can help by supporting this critical work. Please consider a donation at this time.  

Enjoy your Summer!

Gareth Crawford, President & CEO