Coursera for Refugees launched in 2016 to provide free access to Coursera’s catalog to refugees around the world. Today more than 26,000 refugees are learning on Coursera, including Ehab.
Ehab is a 26-year-old student resettling in Germany after fleeing Syria. He participates in Coursera for Refugees through Kiron Open Higher Education, a non-profit organization that grants access to higher education for refugees and asylum seekers. In his own words, here’s his story:
“I study and learn because my country needs help. We need to encourage Syrian youth to participate in the peace-building process, to work towards democracy, and to fight for social justice.”
My name is Ehab and I’m originally from Homs, Syria. In 2013, I began working with young people around the world in peace-building efforts through the United Nations.
When I arrived in Germany in 2015, I had practical experience leading youth advocacy, but I lacked the formal academic knowledge that could take my work to the next level.
I started looking for opportunities to enter a German university, but it was harder than I expected due to language barriers, registration requirements, and documentation issues.
I began searching for ways to study political science online, and I discovered Kiron, a non-profit that provides refugees with access to higher education.
“Through Kiron, I learned about the Coursera for Refugees program which opened doors for me. I was amazed by the selection of educational content available online from top universities.”
Through Coursera for Refugees, I’ve taken many courses including:
- Public Policy Challenges of the 21st Century from the University of Virginia
- Understanding Economic Policymaking from IE Business School
- Global Energy and Climate Policy from the University of London
- Be Persuasive: Write a Convincing Position Paper or Policy Advice from Universiteit Leiden
- Improve Your English Communication Skills Specialization by Georgia Tech
- Academic English: Writing Specialization by UC Irvine
- Introduction to Project Management Principles and Practices Specialization by UC Irvine
These courses helped me build important soft skills like organization and project management. This improved the quality of the work I do with the Syrian Youth Assembly (SYA), a platform I helped establish to encourage young Syrians to work together on peace-building and development projects. We were able to partner with Coursera for Refugees to provide access to more than 13,000 refugees around the world, giving them the opportunity to start careers in fields like web development, graphic design, and application programming.
“One day, I dream of becoming a peace ambassador so that I can advocate for peace all over the world. ”
Ehab is currently studying Economics, Politics, and Social Thought with a focus on Peace-building and Youth Participation at Bard College in Berlin. He plans to continue his work with the Syrian Youth Assembly.