Minister Sajjan announces new Refugee Education Council members on International Youth Day
August 12, 2022 - Ottawa, Canada - Global Affairs Canada
Canada is committed to empowering youth at home and around the world. Improving their access to education, amplifying their voices and engaging with them so they can influence decisions that directly affect them are key ways to ensure intergenerational solidarity to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, which is the theme of this year’s International Youth Day.
Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, announced 10 new Refugee Education Council (REC) members, who will play an integral role in the remaining 2 years of Canada’s Together for Learning campaign.
The REC is an advisory body made up of 15 young leaders from Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Asia. They are youth advocates, community leaders, teachers and parents, some of whom continue to live in refugee settlements; all have lived experience as refugees and of being forcibly displaced.
Hosted by World Vision Canada, the REC advises and informs Canada’s Together for Learning campaign and leads the shaping of solutions and approaches to address the education needs of refugee, other forcibly displaced and host-community children and youth, particularly girls and adolescent girls.
Minister Sajjan had the opportunity to meet and engage with 4 REC members while visiting Kenya on May 26 and Jordan on August 7. These council members shared their reasons for wanting to be part of the REC and described, from their points of view, the challenges that children and youth experiencing displacement face in accessing quality education.
Canada’s Together for Learning campaign was launched in February 2021 to strengthen partnerships and unite global stakeholders, national governments, communities and youth in promoting quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for refugee, other forcibly displaced and host-community children and youth, particularly girls and adolescent girls.
“Education is the foundation for youth to reach their full potential. The members of the Refugee Education Council have already contributed so much by sharing their personal experiences and insights about how we can better ensure all children and youth have access to quality education. I look forward to continuing to work closely with council members and welcome new members in this important work.”
- Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada
“Hope is such a powerful tool in forging one’s possible future. One educated refugee is the hope of a whole community, an entire generation. Quality education for refugees and displaced persons builds a stronger foundation for better society and independent generations.”
- Christian Baobab, Refugee Education Council member
“Education is hope, progress and empowerment. Every child deserves an opportunity to learn, including refugees and displaced children and youth.”
- Nhial Deng, Refugee Education Council member
“Today is a day to celebrate the role played by young people in bringing change to our communities and achieving sustainable development. I am proud of every young person who’s taking a stand to make their voice count, as well as the many who are yet to join the greater course of fighting for our planet and the human race.”
- Nyabuol Biel Gang, Refugee Education Council member
The year-long mandate of the first cohort of REC members ended in late 2021. Among other activities, the REC led the program for Canada’s Together for Learning Summit: Engaging Displaced Youth to Transform Education, which took place on March 30 and 31, 2022. During the summit, youth from around the globe came together to produce the Youth Manifesto to help ensure that the most marginalized people, particularly refugees and forcibly displaced children and youth, have access to quality education.
In response to the Youth Manifesto, Canada, along with the other governments, multilateral organizations and civil society organizations participating in the summit, developed the Summit Outcome Document. The document outlines concrete actions to advance education for the most marginalized children and youth and shared commitments to ensure the meaningful participation of youth in global efforts to address the impacts of conflict and crises on children and youth.
Canada is committed to promoting the actions in the outcome document at the UN Secretary-General’s Transforming Education Summit in September 2022 and at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ Global Refugee Forum in December 2023.
The REC was created in partnership with the Canadian International Education Policy Working Group (CIEPWG), a network of development, humanitarian and advocacy partners working to advance global education policy and programs for the world’s most vulnerable children and youth.
The CIEPWG is made up of the following Canadian organizations: Campaign for Female Education, Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Canadian Feed the Children, Canadian Teachers’ Federation, Canadian Lutheran World Relief, Children Believe, CODE, Fondation Paul Gérin-Lajoie [Paul Gérin-Lajoie foundation], Global Citizen, Grandmothers Advocacy Network, ONE Canada, Plan International Canada, Results Canada, Right To Play International, Save the Children Canada, SOS Children’s Villages, UNICEF Canada, War Child Canada, Wellspring Foundation for Education, World Vision Canada and World University Service of Canada.
- Refugee Education Council
- Together for Learning
- Vision for the Education of Refugee and Displaced Learners: A Manifesto
- Together with Youth: The Together for Learning Summit Outcome Document
- Minister Sajjan announces $67.2 million to support education for displaced children and youth as Canada hosts Together for Learning Summit
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