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Education transforms individuals and communities alike.

In October 2015, 59 students living in the world’s largest refugee camp in Dadaab Kenya received York University Certificates of Completion in Educational Studies. They were the first graduates of a unique program to take post-secondary education to where refugees live.

In York’s Centre for Refugee Studies’ Borderless Higher Education for Refugees project, teachers and graduate students from York as well as Kenyatta University, Moi University and the University of British Columbia conduct an intensive three-month course session, then teach via online classes the rest of the year. The program aims to carve out a future for those who hope one day to leave Dadaab, where roughly 350,000 refugees, most from war-ravaged Somalia, eke out an existence. “I often like to say that York is a university without borders, and this collaborative higher education project perfectly exemplifies that claim,” said York University President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. “The accomplishment of these students is powerful proof of one of the highest aims of education − and, in this sense, their remarkable story is in some ways shared by all of our graduating students − which is that an education holds the promise of a better life.”