Media and Press

The MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili) has selected four projects to receive grants to research the science of learning and ways to make learning more effective. MITili grants focus on wide ranging topics including policy, neuroscience, and socioeconomic factors, with a focus on all levels of learning from pK-12 to higher education and workplace learning. 

by MITili StaffMITili News. June 30, 2022

“Refugees can change the world with access to education,” says Alnarjes Harba, a refugee from Syria who recently shared her story at the 2022 Migration Summit — a first-of-its-kind, global convening to address the challenges that displaced communities face in accessing education and employment."

by Duyen NguyenMIT News. June 3, 2022

The second and third weeks of the Summit spanned 20 events featuring over 70 panelists working in North and South America, the Middle East, and Africa. These weeks have left participants inspired by the work of organizations co-creating resilient solutions for refugees, and more keenly aware of the challenges involved in their work.Up next you can read a recap of these events, focusing on the key themes that emerged from the virtual discussions.

by Elza Meiksane, Medium. May 10, 2021 

“It’s December 2016, and I’ve just arrived in the port town of Pozzallo in Sicily, where I am watching a group of boys playing soccer. The boys are animated and loud, fighting for a chance at the ball. A typical group of boys, except that these boys are refugees from Africa who have just made the long and arduous crossing across the Mediterranean Sea by boat. Beside them, a huge pile of life jackets marks the arrival of the thousands before them. Many did not make it."

by Admir MasicMIT Faculty Newsletter. April, 2022

The 2022 Migration Summit, explores the theme of “Education and Workforce Development in Displacement,” seeking to build bridges between diverse refugee and migrant communities, educational institutions, and important stakeholders to collaboratively address key challenges and identify opportunities with and for refugees and migrant communities. You can recap of key learnings from the first week’s sessions, from the perspective of three participants and volunteers.

by Lily Zhang, Elza Meiksane, and Camila Massa, Medium.  April 15, 2021

Keynote session, “Pathways to Education, Livelihood, and Hope,” featured opening remarks from MIT President L. Rafael Reif. “When you have to leave in a hurry, education is all you can take with you,” Reif said, sharing a lesson he’d learned from his parents, who fled Eastern Europe in 1938. While digital technologies have transformed how we teach and how we learn, Reif explained, the truth of that lesson remains unchanged today.

by Duyen Nguyen, Medium.  April 15, 2022

The Migration Summit opened on April 1 with a keynote address from Mondiant Dogon, human rights activist, refugee ambassador, and author of Those We Throw Away Are Diamonds: A Refugee’s Search for Home (2021).Dogon shared his story of having grown up in refugee camps in Rwanda, where his refugee status was a continual barrier to educational and employment opportunities. “All refugees know the moment we stopped being who we are,” Dogon said, pointing out that displacement forces people to leave behind not only their homes and their livelihoods, but also their dreams and their rights.

by Duyen Nguyen, Medium.  April 6, 2022

On behalf of the MIT Refugee Action Hub (MIT ReACT), a program that upholds global peace building through open learning, we extend our compassion and support for those facing the current catastrophe in Ukraine and all refugees and displaced persons worldwide. We are actively working on expanding opportunities for those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine to join our programs that are specifically designed for the educational needs of displaced peoples

by Admir Masic, Medium.  March 10, 2022

A highly simplified map of the world with icons of people's faces on different continents

Through the championing support of the faculty and leadership of the MIT Afghan Working Group convened last September by Provost Martin Schmidt and chaired by Associate Provost for International Activities Richard Lester, MIT has come together to support displaced Afghan learners and scholars in a time of crisis. The MIT Refugee Action Hub (ReACT) has opened opportunities for 25 talented Afghan learners to participate in the hub’s certificate program in computer and data science (CDS), now in its fourth year, welcoming its largest and most diverse cohort to date — 136 learners from 29 countries.

by Duyen Nguyen, MIT News.  March 1, 2022

Remote Internships on the Rise for Refugees

"An established authority in the space with more than 10,000 alumni spanning 150 nationalities, The Intern Group has collaborated with MIT to create a pipeline of top talent, including from such universities as Aga Khan University in Nairobi and Tec de Monterrey in Mexico. They’re tying into MIT’s Refugee Action Hub (ReACT), which offers a platform to leverage the potential of refugees, migrants, and economically-disadvantaged populations who are keen to pursue careers in tech."

by Rebecca Menes, Vitae: World Bank Group.  December 1, 2021

Illustration of young woman with laptop screen, a stack of books, and a graduation cap.

Building a global community of generous learning

Recently, through Close the Gap, a member of the ReACT network that refurbishes and ships computers to communities in need around the world, ReACT connected with Bored of Boredom — an organization founded by high school students in Los Angeles — to provide laptop grants to two learners in ReACT’s Certificate in Computer and Data Science (CDS) program.

by Duyen Nguyen, MIT Open Learning. Medium. November 22, 2021

The Western Union Foundation has partnered with The MIT Refugee Action Hub (MIT ReACT) to address the skills gap these individuals face by providing a certified year-long online learning program, enabling education to employment pathways for promising young refugees, displaced populations, and underserved communities worldwide.

Western Union Blog. October 18, 2021

Graphic featuring a simplified world map with 7 circular symbols in different locations featuring cartoon-style faces

MIT Refugee Action Hub celebrates the graduation of its third and largest cohort yet. MIT ReACT recently celebrated the graduation of its third Certificate in Computer and Data Science cohort in an online ceremony. ReACT is a yearlong online learning program that creates education-to-employment pathways for talented refugees and displaced populations.

MIT News. October 12, 2021

“Our virtual mentorship program matches our learners with mentors who are skilled professionals, providing a safe space to build camaraderie and trust between the pair. At Na’amal, we are optimistic that this experience will provide the opportunity for our mentees to advance and sustain careers across geographic borders.”

An MIT second-year Computer Science major Shenal Kotuwewatta founded Radian Education, an MIT Sandbox-backed startup aimed at bringing affordable computer science education to high school students in his home country of Sri Lanka. As a program assistant with MIT ReACT, he develops workshops in soft skills and data science, using his experiences towards the goal of making education accessible for everyone.

MIT ReACT's collaboration with Na'amal provides a novel and highly valuable dimension to the ReACT learner experience. Skills training for work in remote contexts is essential to any worker in the digital economy, but even more so for refugees and asylum-seekers striving to advance and sustain careers across geographic borders and locales.

As a former exchange student, first-year MIT student Arbri Kopliku knows what it feels like to have to adapt to many new features of ones surroundings in so little time, while keeping goals and ambitions in clear sight. "Being Program Assistant at MIT ReACT," he writes "it is my duty and immense pleasure to be of help whenever the cohort members express and interest to augment what they are learning from the program."

While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced education around the world to move into virtual spaces, this shift has created an unexpected opportunity for ReACT to open up its program to more learners. With 50 learners from 22 different countries, the third Computer and Data Science cohort is ReACT's largest and most global to date.

“MIT ReACT’s model works with partners to establish networked hubs of activity, providing holistic support for learners’ educational and entrepreneurial ambitions where they are.  MIT Solve has been an excellent connector in this growing ecosystem.”

The 2019-2020 ReACT Computer and Data Science Certificate program concludes with an online gradution ceremony celebrating the accomplishments of its exceptionally talented participants. Faculty Founder and Professor of Civil and Enviromental Engineer Admir Masic is joined by Vice President for Open Learning and Professor of Mechanical Engineering Sanjay Sarma to share congratulatory remarks. 

MIT-Africa Program Manager Ari Jacobovits is joined by CEE Assistant Professor and ReACT faculty founder Admir Masic and the MISTI students who worked with Syrian refugees in Jordan this January with ReACT. This bi-weekly series features global news discussions, a taste of international music, and MISTI experiences from faculty and students!

The guest of the week for "Il tempo dei nuovi eroi" (translated, "The Time for New Heroes"), a segment on Radio Italia is ReACT Founder Admir Masic. Prof. Masic is the 7th guest of this new series. Watch as Admir recounts his struggle as a young Bosnian refugee during the Yugoslav War, and shares how his story informed the design and launch of MIT Refugee Action Hub (ReACT). The video is in Italian.

Since it was conceived as an online offering in 2012, the MITx massive open online course (MOOC), Introduction to Computer Science using Python, has become the most popular MOOC in MIT history with 1.2 million enrollments to date.

The course is derived from a campus-based and Open CourseWare subject at MIT developed and originally taught at MIT by John Guttag, the Dugald C. Jackson Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. "Although on the surface it's a computer programming course with Python, it's really not about Python or even programming," explains Guttag. "It's about teaching students to use computation, in this case described by Python, to build models and explore broader questions of what can be done with computation to understand the world."

This week, the MIT Refugee Action Hub (ReACT) announced that it is now accepting applications for the second offering of the Certificate Program in Computer and Data Science. The one-year course of study is designed for refugees and other displaced people around the world, and offers them the opportunity to earn a certificate in a rigorous, yet accessible program that allows young adults to reactivate their potential and restart careers.

ReACT is a part of MIT Open Learning, which looks to extend and expand educational and development opportunities worldwide, with ReACT focusing on adult refugee learners globally. ReACT seeks to design, develop, and deliver new curricula and hybrid learning models to specifically address the needs and expectations of displaced learners and workers, as well as their communities.

The lives of refugees aren’t just disrupted by the loss of a homeland, but also by massive challenges in accessing educational and professional opportunities. A collaboration between the MITx MicroMasters program in data, economics, and development policy (DEDP), the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), and the MIT Refugee Action Hub (ReACT) seeks to address these challenges. MIT’s Department of Economics and J-PAL co-developed and launched the MITx MicroMasters Program in DEDP in 2017. The new collaboration will allow refugee learners to receive scholarships for DEDP courses, participate in skills-building workshops, and connect with top organizations and companies in the field of development economics and data analysis.

The MicroMasters team at J-PAL recently announced a new collaboration with ReACT Hub, an MIT initiative that designs and deploys new learning opportunities for displaced populations.

Starting in the summer of 2018, ReACT will sponsor a cohort of refugees to join the MicroMasters in Data, Economics, and Development Policy, providing selected learners with access to scholarships for the five MicroMasters in DEDP courses, remote work with paid internships during the fall of 2018, and in-person skill-building workshops in January 2019. Learners with proof of refugee, asylee, or internally displaced status are encouraged to apply for this opportunity.

This new pathway is designed to empower refugees with customized roadmaps to education and career opportunities, supporting J-PAL’s mission to reduce poverty by ensuring that policies and programs are informed by scientific evidence. Our hope is the refugee learners selected for ReACT scholarships will be able to gain strong technical skills and meaningful professional experiences in >evidence-based policymaking that they can bring back to their communities and put into practice.

"What we're really doing is offering the students an opportunity to sharpen their skills in computer and data science, but also in innovation and how to be entrepreneurial,"

The initial program was madey displaced people, Fadel says, as well as to qualified citizens of Jordan. The organizers made extra efforts to promote the program to women, and because access to records can be difficult for displaced people, applying to the program does not require transcripts or standardized test scores.

The program includes five online courses - two in computer science, and one each in data science, innovation, and leadership. The courses will be taught by a combination of MIT faculty and students, both live and on the edX platform.

The concept was initially created under the leadership of Admir Masic, the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who as a child was a refugee from Bosnia and Herzegovina whose family fled to a refugee camp in Croatia. He then lived in Germany and Italy, where he earned his college degrees. "I know firsthand that a good education is the ticket to a better life," he says.

MIT is poised to become a global educational hub for displaced populations and refugees. With the launch of the Refugee ACTion Hub (ReACT), which was announced at the SOLVE at MIT annual flagship event, the Institute will develop digital and blended learning opportunities and serve as a catalyst for anyone dedicated to solving the problem of refugee education.

MIT ReACT stems from the vision and personal journey of its faculty founder, Admir Masic. "During the war in Yugoslavia my family lost everything, and I became a teenage refugee. I had access to a great deal of humanitarian support, such as food, clothes and shelter, but what changed my life was access to education," he says.

MIT ReACT documents its 1st computer and data science program in Amman, Jordan. Watch the video by clicking the linked title.

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