Asian University for Women

Asian University for Women (AUW) provides talented young women who would not otherwise be able to attend university with a high-quality liberal arts education in a multicultural setting that fosters self-respect, empathy, and courage. 


The Catalyst Foundation is helping to support a scholarship program at the Asian University for Women (AUW). AUW focuses on recruiting excellent students who would not otherwise be able to attend university due to political conflict, economic injustice, or social norms that create hurdles to access. The majority of AUW students are the first in their families to go to university and receive full or partial scholarships.

Many students spend their first two years at AUW in the Pathways for Promise and Access Academy programs, which solidify English language skills and enhance competencies in other key subjects. The final three years at AUW are devoted to receiving a liberal arts education. AUW also helps to place students in three internships during their course of study: one in the public sector, one in the private sector, and one with an entrepreneur. The Catalyst Foundation provides scholarships to students from Afghanistan and Syria at AUW.

To learn more about the Asian University for Women, visit their website here.


C.S. Lewis Bilingual High School in Bratislava

The Bridges Education Inclusion Project at C.S. Lewis Bilingual High School in Bratislava, Slovakia aims to provide disadvantaged students with access to the highest quality secondary education in Slovakia and to support Roma primary school students through an academic tutoring program.

The Bridges Project supports the efforts of the C.S. Lewis Bilingual High School, an academically rigorous and progressive high school in Bratislava. The school seeks to foster a culture for all of its students that emphasizes inclusion, tolerance, and cross-cultural understanding through its curriculum and programming. In this way, the school hopes to create future leaders with integrity who are committed to principles of inclusion.

Through the Bridges Project, the school provides scholarship funds for talented students disadvantaged groups that have long been relegated to low-quality, segregated education. In addition, in an effort to provide a pathway for Roma primary school students into the high school, C.S. Lewis students tutor Roma primary school students in a town outside of Bratislava.

To learn more about C.S. Lewis Bilingual High School, please visit their website here.


The Education Quality and Learning for All (EQUAL) Global Research Network

The EQUAL Global Research Network studies and develops learning outcome measures for children across education levels in order to improve education systems in the MENA region and reduce inequality in learning.

The EQUAL Global Research Network is comprised of a group of education researchers supported by the Global TIES for Children Center at New York University. The goal of the research network is to realize the promise of UN Sustainable Development Goal 4, which calls for every child to have access to a quality education by 2030.

The Catalyst Foundation’s support for the EQUAL project is designed to build the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) portion of the network by providing seed grant funding for individual education researchers from universities and NGOs in the MENA region for projects that measure learning, development, and quality in national education programs. Some of the projects funded by these seed grants examine the particular challenges of educating children who have fled conflict zones and experienced trauma.

The EQUAL Global Research Network assumes that networks are more powerful than individuals. Building on the premise that sharing information within regional and global networks will bring about more innovation and greater impact, Catalyst’s support allows the Global TIES Center at NYU to convene participating researchers periodically at regional and global conferences to share the results of their research and propose policy solutions.

To learn more about the EQUAL Global Research Network, please visit their website here.


Global Citizens Mentoring Initiative

The Global Citizens Initiative (GCI) secondary school mentoring program brings together talented youth from around the world, focusing on character development, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, and leadership skills for the 21st century.


This secondary school mentoring program provides a pathway to higher education for talented students from around the world. The program begins each year with 28 students attending a week-long summit, where professors from Phillips Exeter Academy guide them in discussion-based learning, design thinking, and human connectivity. After the summit, students return to their home regions and work with a GCI mentor to develop their own social responsibility projects.

The GCI mentorship also helps to connect students with international higher education opportunities. Since the GCI mentoring program began in 2014, many of its alumni have received full ride scholarships to elite universities in the United States.

The Catalyst Foundation is supporting the expansion of the GCI mentoring program to students from the Middle East and North Africa region, with a particular focus on supporting and mentoring disadvantaged youth.

To learn more, please visit Global Citizens Initiative's website.


Habesha Project

Habesha Project helps young Syrian refugees pursue higher educational opportunities in Mexico by covering all the costs associated with students’ bachelor’s or master’s degree studies.


Habesha Project, an initiative of the Diálogo Intercultural de México Activo (DIMA), partners with eight top Mexican universities to provide full tuition scholarships to Syrians. Habesha Project then covers all other costs, including travel to Mexico, room and board, and up to a year of intensive Spanish language study and cultural immersion. Priority is given to applicants living in vulnerable areas inside Syria or in refugee camps with limited access to education alternatives.

Habesha Project helps students through every step of their educational experience in Mexico. This includes assistance obtaining visas, validating identification documents and certificates; arranging travel to Mexico; up to 12 months of culture and Spanish language immersion courses in Aguascalientes; full university scholarships; health insurance; monthly stipends to cover housing, food, and transportation; university holiday activities; assistance finding internships; psycho-social support; and monitoring academic progress while students are at universities throughout Mexico. This comprehensive support ensures that every scholar has the opportunity to integrate fully into Mexican culture during their studies, and maximizes their chances of success.

To learn more, please visit Habesha Project's website here.


IIE Platform for Education in Emergencies Response (PEER)

The Institute of International Education’s Platform for Education in Emergencies Response (PEER) is an online clearinghouse enabling displaced and refugee students to connect with formal and informal higher education opportunities.

PEER was created in response to global education emergencies and initially focused on the educational needs of Syrian students due to the devastating impact of the conflict in Syria. Prior to the conflict, almost 30% of Syria’s youth was enrolled in higher education. The conflict has had an unprecedented impact on university-aged students and has highlighted the need for increased collaboration and coordination between public and private sector stakeholders to respond to higher education in emergencies. PEER provides a holistic platform that connects students with educational opportunities offered by NGOs, foundations, and others.

While PEER initially focused on Syrian students, the platform is becoming a global resource for all refugee and displaced students. PEER is connecting students from around the world to scholarships, language and online learning opportunities, and other educational resources in both the Arabic and English languages. To learn more, visit the PEER website here.


Sky School

Sky School is developing secondary educational programs for young refugees and their host communities using a blended learning model.

Sky School Hackathon_2.jpg
Sky School Kakuma.jpg

Sky School seeks to provide a secondary education to the high number of refugee teens and displaced youth who have had their education interrupted. Only a fraction of refugee adolescents are enrolled in secondary school. These adolescents face barriers due to discrimination, language differences, and lack of the documentation that they need to enroll in school, such as identity papers and past transcripts.

Sky School is developing and piloting a blended learning (online and in-person) secondary education for refugees. Students will be able to access course material online at their own pace and communicate with their teachers via the Aula education-communication app. Students also will have access to in-person support with local support hubs in places such as Athens, Greece; Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya; and Amman, Jordan. Sky School has already begun working with universities and colleges around the world to ensure that its secondary school diploma will be recognized; this will give refugee youth who have completed its courses the opportunity to pursue higher education, work, and training.

Sky School has been piloting individual courses with refugee students in Jordan and elsewhere, and plans to launch its full 10-module curriculum in 2020.

To learn more, visit Sky School's website here.


University of the People in Arabic

The University of the People is developing a Business Administration Associate’s Degree in Arabic, which will be the first-of-its-kind online, U.S.-accredited program designed for Arabic-speaking refugees and other qualified students.

Dedicated to opening access to higher education globally, University of the People is designed to help qualified secondary school graduates overcome financial, geographic, political, and personal constraints on their ability to pursue a university education.

This new program will be open to all students who wish to study in Arabic toward an accredited American degree, and will employ refugee scholars as teachers. The Associate’s Degree program also will provide tailored, English-immersion courses designed to provide a pathway for students to integrate into one of University of the People’s Bachelor’s Degree programs taught in English.

To learn more, please visit the University of the People’s website.