Past Event details

Higher Education, Global Wellbeing and the Refugee Crisis

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

In collaboration with the International Centre for Higher Education Management (ICHEM)

Location: Building 8 West Room 3.14, School of Management, University of Bath
Time: 1430-1630 followed by refreshments and networking
Chair: Helen Perkins, Director, Society for Research in Higher Education 
Beyond National Competition: Higher Education for Global Wellbeing
Rajani Naidoo, Director, International Centre for Higher Education Management (ICHEM)
Much of our focus is on how universities contribute to the economic and social development of our own countries. However, many of the major issues facing humankind such as the destruction of the environment, rising inequality and violence across borders can only be solved by countries and universities working together. In this context, the question of how higher education contributes to global wellbeing including the current refugee crisis becomes very important. Drawing on the theory of uneven and combined development, this presentation focusses on the barriers to achieving this vision such as particular forms of global rankings and powerful forms of conditionality imposed by powerful organisations. It celebrates trailblazer initiatives arguing that to turn the spotlight away from the competition fetish to collaborations promoting global wellbeing is both illuminating and inspirational. 
The Refugee Crisis: The Contribution of Higher Education to Strengthening Communities 
Johannes Tarvainen, Education Officer, United Nations High Commission for Refugees 
Education plays an integral part in the protection of refugees around the world. In line with an approach to lifelong learning, the continuum of basic to higher education enables refugees to build their professional skills and support their communities in preparing for solutions. Highly educated refugees often take lead roles in the reconstruction of post-conflict societies upon voluntary return into their countries of origin. During protracted periods of asylum, highly educated refugee women and men contribute to the economic self-reliance and positive self-esteem of their communities, while serving as role models for refugee children to retain in school and aspire for their futures. The demand for higher education in refugee communities outweighs by far the availability of current opportunities. Alongside higher education scholarships, connected/ blended learning programmes reach out to refugees that are not in a position to study away from their communities. Expanded higher education opportunities through new initiatives driven by universities have the potential to immensely benefit refugees and their communities, as long as protection and legal considerations specific to refugees are taken into account. 
The seminar will be followed by refreshments and informal discussion. 
There will be  a collection box for cash donations to the UCU Fundraising effort for three charities who are doing essential work related to refugees:
Medecins Sans Frontieres (
The White Helmets ( 
Migrant Offshore Aid Station (

There is no charge to attend this event but please contact to register your attendance

Speaker Biographies
Johannes Tarvainen is Education Officer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), based in the Division of International Protection in Geneva. Based in Headquarters, he provides guidance to UNHCR’s higher education policy and programmatic response in 41 countries across Africa, Middle East, Asia and Latin America. His previous assignments with UNHCR were in Kenya where he worked on the protection of refugees and stateless persons and in Rwanda where he coordinated education programmes for urban and camp-based refugees from early childhood to higher education.

Rajani Naidoo is Professor of Higher Education Management and Director of the International Centre for Higher Education Management in the School of Management at the University of Bath. Before this she was an inaugural faculty member at a higher education institution that aimed to contribute to the transformation of apartheid higher education in South Africa. She is co-editor of a book series of global higher education (Palgrave) and on the executive editorial board of the British Journal of Sociology of Education.
The SRHE SWHE seminar series is co-ordinated by Dr Lisa Lucas (University of Bristol) and Professor Rajani Naidoo (University of Bath).  

Network: South West Regional Network
Date(s): Wednesday, 30 September 2015
Times: 14.30-16.30
Location: University of Bath
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