Welcoming new partners in the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI)

17.12.2019 - Press release

Welcoming new partners in the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI):

During the first ever Global Refugee Forum, held in Geneva 17 and 18 December 2019, the governments of Denmark and Germany announce a joint contribution to the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI) for higher education scholarships to support UNHCR’s goal to increase the number of refugee students enrolled in university from the currently 3% to 15% by 2030.

The German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas explains: “Our goal needs to be to give many more refugees who have fled war and suffering the opportunity to lead a self-determined life. The only way to do this is to ensure they have access to education. Education provides opportunities for the future and thus furthers integration. And through education we can make a long-term contribution to conflict prevention. I am delighted to welcome our neighbour Denmark as the first new bilateral partner to the DAFI scholarship programme. Together we will support UNHCR to ensure access for refugees to university education in their countries of asylum. We encourage more countries to join our initiative.”

DAFI is the largest global higher education scholarship programme for refugees. It is also the most long-standing, operating since 1992. Thanks to the support of the German Government and private foundations, particularly the Saïd Foundation and the Asfari Foundation in the UK, over 15,500 young women and men have been given the opportunity to get an undergraduate degree, building resilience and self-reliance. In 2019 a record number of over 8,000 students in 54 countries have been part of the DAFI programme. For 2020, the German Government’s contribution will amount to 13.4 million Euro.

The Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Mr. Rasmus Prehn shares: “Denmark is happy to announce a 10 million DKK contribution to the DAFI programme in order to support young refugees in achieving a foundation for self-reliance and becoming active and contributing members of society – while in displacement and upon return”

Germany’s and Denmark’s support to the DAFI programme is matched by the pledge of the Saïd Foundation, the biggest and most long-standing private partner to the programme, who will contribute another 700,000 pounds to support refugee students in Jordan and Lebanon.

With Denmark joining the programme, more refugee students can be awarded a scholarship. Currently, only 10% of DAFI scholarship applicants receive a scholarship, and the aim is to rapidly increase opportunities.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi adds, “These pledges are exactly the support that we require to put the Global Compact on Refugees into action. Higher Education is central to greater self-reliance and leadership. The strong partnerships and commitment demonstrated in the DAFI programme are essential for creating positive change and opportunities for empowerment through education for refugees around the world.”

The first Global Refugee Forum (GRF) in December 2019 will provide an opportunity for all UN member states, together with relevant stakeholders, to announce concrete pledges and contributions towards the goals of the Global Compact on Refugees. In line with its core objectives, the DAFI programme aims to foster refugee self-reliance by enabling refugees to pursue higher education and thereby to gain knowledge, skills and qualifications as a key to accessing livelihood opportunities and employment. In addition, the DAFI programme contributes to the UNHCR objective to achieve 15% of refugee students worldwide enrolled at a university by 2030.

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