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Online Conference “Protracted Displacement: Hopes, Perspectives, and Solutions?”

A series of conference events successfully launched on 19-20 October 2020.

Session 2: Protracted Displacement and Higher Education in the Middle East: A Way Forward

Session 2: Protracted Displacement and Higher Education in the Middle East: A Way Forward
Image Credit: AiS

The Protracted Displacement Conference was launched online on 19-20 October 2020. This series of conference events is made up of discussions on strategies and solutions for refugees who are unable to return to their home countries in the foreseeable future. The panel discussion hosted by Academics in Solidarity (Freie Universität Berlin) and EDU-SYRIA (German-Jordanian University) focused on developing joint solutions for displaced students and scholars. The moderators Dr. Florian Kohstall and Dr. Vera Axyonova were joined by EU ambassador to Jordan Maria Hadjitheodosiou, president of the German-Jordanian University Professor Manar Fayyad, academics Professor M. Murat Erdoğan (Turkish-German University) and Dr. Nahed Ghazzoul (Columbia Global Center in Amman), doctoral candidate Nada Saleh (Justus Liebig University Gießen), and student Kanan Al-Hariri (Zarqa University).  

While a wide range of programs that support Syrian refugees have been set in motion in Jordan and Turkey, the number of people in need continues to grow. Professor Fayyad, who runs the EDU-SYRIA program at the German-Jordanian University, reported on the steadily increasing numbers of applicants. Accommodating the high numbers of refugees to Jordan in particular has brought with it many challenges. Although the European Union supports several programs – including schemes for integrating refugees into the labor market – job prospects for refugees are limited due to current employment regulations. This issue in particular was criticized by scholars who fled to Jordan and have since become employed either abroad or via a foreign institution. The situation in Turkey differs in that students and researchers from Syria are permitted to take on employment, but opportunities are limited to specific disciplines in demand. All participants agreed that continuous dialogue between displaced students and scholars, university and government representatives, and international donor agencies is necessary in order to compare different response strategies and achieve the best results. 

The conference offers a platform that encourages all participants to seek sustainable solutions to the multifaceted challenges of the protracted displacement and to exchange experiences and knowledge on this issue. It brings together key stakeholders and researchers from Jordan, the Middle East, Europe and the USA to discuss possible options for post-conflict reconstruction, repatriation and resettlement, as well as long-term solidarity and cohesion in the host countries and host communities. 

The conference series continues on 3 and 17 November 2020. 

The full program is available on the conference website: 


The conference is jointly organized by Academics in Solidarity - Freie Universität Berlin, EDU-SYRIA, the German-Jordanian University, Yarmouk University, DAAD, GIZ, and UNHCR with financial support from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the European Union, and Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences.

Sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research