MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab launches contest to find solutions for refugee crisis

The MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab (MITEF Pan Arab), in a partnership that includes Kuwait based Zain Group, recently launched the Innovate for Refugees global competition for long-term solutions to problems facing refugees.

Through the partnership that also includes MBC Hope, the corporate social responsibility arm of Dubai's Middle East Broadcasting Center; the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR); and Jusoor, an organization of Syrian expatriates, MITEF Pan Arab wants to use technology to resolve the world’s refugee crisis.

“Over the past five years the rate of displacement has escalated drastically, with the forcibly displaced exceeding 65 million for the first time,” Mohammed Abu Asaker, UNHCR’s spokesperson, said. “The MENA region is the largest producer and host of refugees in the world, while Syria’s war remained the world’s leading cause of displacement and associated suffering.”

The competition began June 20, World Refugee Day and the deadline for submissions is Sept. 1. An award ceremony will be held Oct. 3. The final prize is more than $80,000.

“The combination of three factors make me hopeful about this competition: smartphone penetration among refugees is very high and so is internet penetration; second, you find refugees with a very high level of education especially in science and technology, finally, the refugee population is very young,” Hala Fadel, founder and chair of MITEF Pan Arab, said. “Technology, education and youth work well together and will help us unleash solutions for refugees by entrepreneurs worldwide and also from within the refugee community."

Organizations in this Story

United Nations Zain Group

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