Pilot Program Sends Profs to MENA
April 26, 2013 - 2:59am
Through a program called Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins, Georgetown faculty and staff are teaching online courses to refugees in Africa and the Middle East.
Founded in fall 2010 as a pilot program by a collaboration of Jesuit universities and organizations such as the Jesuit Refugee Service, Jesuit Commons uses distance-education tools to connect faculty members from U.S. Jesuit universities with refugees in United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees camps.
While Georgetown was part of the founding team and contributes teaching staff to the program, the university further increased its involvement by donating Kindles, which allow books and assignments to be downloaded for future use without a constant internet connection.
Jesuit Commons currently works with four UNHCR camps in Kenya, Malawi, Jordan and Syria, although the Syrian site is no longer operational due to warfare. Approximately 160 faculty members from 36 U.S. universities and 363 students are participating.
Jesuit Commons is seeking additional funding in order to increase its staff, infrastructure and technology, as well as to add seven new sites in Afghanistan, Chad and the Thai-Burmese border.
Georgetown faculty members have been primarily involved with the camp in Kakuma, Kenya, which is composed largely of Somalis fleeing a prolonged drought.
In June 2012, several Georgetown faculty members, including Vice President for Mission and Ministry Fr. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., and represent...Continue reading this article »