WISE Learners' Voice

2016-17 First Residential Session

In March, the Learners’ Voice Program hosted a residential session in Athens, Greece for the first time since its inception in 2010. The two-week intensive session brought together 25 participants, including youth from refugee communities, to explore the global forced migration and refugee crisis, which is the program’s thematic focus for 2016-17.

This first residential session comprised interactive workshops led by the Yale World Fellows and various experts from Oxford University, Harvard University, the University of Bologna and Save The Children, among others. The workshops were designed to spark creative thinking and discussion among the participants around both practical and theoretical knowledge of the challenge topic, in addition to developing their communication, leadership and project development skills. The group also devoted attention to supporting the work of organizations working with both urban and camp refugee communities in Athens, including the Khora Community Centre, METAdrasi, Orange House, Project Elea, and Organization Earth.

Project development is a key component of the program; teams were tasked with developing grass-roots projects to support the refugees and organizations working on the ground. The residential session concluded with the presentations of five group projects to a panel of education experts including Mr. Stavros N. Yiannouka, CEO, WISE, and Dr. Stefanos Gialamas, President of the American Community Schools of Athens, as well as representatives from Project Elea, METAdrasi, and Organization Earth.

The Athens residential session was designed to enable the participants to apply their skills and knowledge as they research and develop innovative educational projects throughout the year. The Learners will continue to develop their group projects online with the support of mentors. In June, they will meet again for a Second Residential Session in Madrid which will address social entrepreneurship and design thinking modules delivered by Babson College and expert faculty.

Successful projects will be presented at the WISE 2017 Summit in Doha in November.

Download the Program Book

First Residential Session Partners

Banco Santander, through its Santander Universities Global Division, maintains more than 1100 collaborative agreements with universities and research centers worldwide. Since 1996, Santander Universities has been the focus of the bank's social action with an investment of over 1 billion Euros in various initiatives and university projects.
American Community Schools (ACS) Athens is a student-centered international school, embracing American educational philosophy, principles and values. Through excellence in teaching and diverse educational experiences, ACS Athens challenges all students to realize their unique potential: academically, intellectually, socially and ethically — to thrive as responsible global citizens.
Organization Earth is a Greek NGO founded in 2010 with the aim of providing experiential non-formal education for sustainable development. In addition to the various local programs they offer on sustainability and education, they also run non-formal skills training workshops in the Skaramagas camp.
METAdrasi–Action for Migration and Development, is a Greek NGO that operates mainly in the following two sectors-interpretation services and the protection of unaccompanied children. They have specially trained interpreters in 33 languages and dialects to provide vital communication for refugees regarding legal services. They also escort unaccompanied and separated children from border detention centers to appropriate accommodation facilities through guardianship and placement of children in foster families.
Khora is a humanitarian co-operative foundation based in Athens that focuses on addressing refugee needs by providing various services and skills training workshop under one roof. Their work is managed and run by a group of diverse volunteers.