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US: IIE boosts Afghan and Haitian support

The Institute of International Education’s Afghanistan Crisis Response is aiming to support students and scholars threatened by the events unfolding in the South Asian country, while individuals at US universities from Haiti are also eligible for extra support.

Photo: Pexels

International students from Afghanistan or Haiti are eligible for one-time grants of between $2,000 and $5,000

The international education organisation is seeking to offer additional support to students and scholars from Haiti, whose studies and work have been affected by the earthquake on August 14.

The IIE Scholar Rescue Fund, Emergency Student Fund and Artist Protection Fund are aimed at helping save lives and preserve knowledge wherever they are under threat, in addition to supporting international students in the US, the organisation said.

As part of the IIE ESF, the organisation is looking for IIENetwork member institutions to nominate up to five international students from Afghanistan or Haiti for one-time grants of between $2,000 and $5,000.

The deadline for the ESF has recently been extended from September 2 to September 15. According to the IIE 2019/20 Open Doors data, some 1,016 Haitian students and 422 Afghan students across the country may be able to avail of the funding.

“Our goal is to really review and get grants out to as many students as quickly as we can”

Funds can be used to cover students’ educational, living, or health related expenses.

The student emergency work covers international students in the US when crises happen in their home countries, as well as support and advocacy for refugee and displaced students globally in their pursuit of higher education, IIE’s head, Corporate and Foundation Programs Mary Karam McKey explained.

“Our goal is to really review and get grants out to as many students as quickly as we can,” she said of the grants for Afghan and Haitian students.

And for refugee and displaced individuals – only 3% of whom have access to higher education in comparison with 30% of the world’s population – IIE’s PEER platform offers an online resource and clearinghouse for higher ed and training opportunities, she continued.

“We know that the number of searches from Afghanistan have increased exponentially the past number of weeks. We know that a couple of our university partners, have posted scholarship opportunities that are specific for Afghan students on the PEER website.”

In addition to PEER, IIE offers degree program scholarships for refugee and displaced students.

“We hope to do more in this area for the people of Afghanistan,” McKey noted.

Examples of other programs that the organisation runs include the Peer Bridge Programme, supporting refugees on the Thai Myanmar border with upfront costs and barriers to applying to university, in addition to an online master’s level degree in partnership with ED-X and University of the People.

“More recently, in April of this year, we launched the IIE Odyssey Scholarship, where we’re providing full financial support and advising for refugee and displaced students in Africa, Latin America, the MENA region and Southeast Asia,” she said.

Earlier this year, IIE also announced it would open an IIE Scholar Rescue Fund office in Brussels to arranges and funds fellowships for threatened and displaced scholars at partnering higher education institutions.

IIE’s offices mean the organisation can “be there and offer more on the ground support”, McKey added.

Since 2002, IIE-SRF has supported 925 scholars from 60 countries in partnership with 434 host institutions in 50 countries

A recent survey found that IIE-SRF alumni have produced over 10,000 scholarly publications, presentations, artistic works, and public appearances since competing their fellowships.

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