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On 7 June 2018, the second Universities #JoinTogether Conference was held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Together is a global UN-led initiative that promotes respect, safety and dignity for refugees. Since September 2016, Together has been a prominent player in the global effort to combat xenophobia.
Right2Education UN conference

Refugees in higher education

The #JoinTogether conferences afford university initiatives a common platform to share expertise and showcase their projects aimed at bringing structural change to the integration of refugees in higher education. This year’s participants included the University of Massachusetts (USA), Guilford College (USA), DeMont University Leicester (UK) and Amsterdam University College (the Netherlands).

Right2Education in NYC

Right2Education presents their project

Representing the Dutch delegation was Right2Education (R2E). An independent initiative founded and run entirely by AUC students, R2E provides free Dutch and English classes to refugee students at Amsterdam University College (AUC). Known as guest students in the community, they are provided with the opportunity to integrate into the wider AUC student body through social events organised by R2E as part of their buddy programme.

During her ten minute address, Ellen Ackroyd, Co-founder and Public Relations Manager of Right2Education, explained how the presence of R2E’s guest students has enriched the diversity and experience of AUC students and the local community. She went on to elaborate on how changing the vocabulary and wider public dialogues associated with the situation of refugees can create spaces to acknowledge common grounds, find compromise over differences and build shared experiences.

Selected as an audience favourite

In the context of Sustainable Development Goal 16, which is to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels, the assembly voted Right2Education as the best project presented.

AUC would like to congratulate Ellen and all those associated with Right2Education on the well-deserved recognition of their continued hard work!