This December in Barcelona, UNESCO and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) organized the International Expert Meeting on Public Policies supporting the Right to Education of Refugees, with the collaboration of the Center for UNESCO of Catalonia-Unescocat, the Barcelona City Council and the Catalan Government. Education plays a key role in providing refugees with the necessary tools for the full development of their personality, integration into the labor market and improvement of their livelihood. It is also key to successful integration, and facilitates a more significant contribution to society. Furthermore, it contributes to mutual acceptance and respect within the population of the receiving countries.
The International Expert Meeting, held at the Royal Palace of Pedralbes, brought together country representatives and internationally renowned experts, and it became a platform for facilitating and enriching discussions on conceptual, legal and policy issues related to the protection of refugees’ right to education. It worked to identify the challenges faced by countries and cities hosting significant numbers of refugees, discussing good country practices and promising policy measures. It also focused on identifying specific areas on which to guide and strengthen support and discuss key policy levers. The Global Education Monitoring Report 2019, entitled “Migration, displacement and education: Building bridges not walls”, was presented at the meeting.
The meeting was opened by UNESCO’s Assistant Director General for Education, Prof. Stefania Giannini, and included the participation of Dr. Koumbou Boly Barry, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for the Right to Education; the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Government of Catalonia, Alfred Bosch; the Deputy Mayor of Social Rights of Barcelona City Council, Laia Ortiz; the Head of Education Policies of UNESCO, Francesc Pedró; and the Chairman of Unescocat, Eduard Vallory.
This collaboration between the Center for UNESCO of Catalonia-Unescocat and UNESCO in the organization of the International Expert Meeting on Public Policies supporting the Right to Education of Refugees is the result of the joint work between Unescocat and UNESCO’s Education Division in recent years, and the contribution of several young experts who were awarded grants by Unescocat. One of them was part of the meeting’s organization team.