Challenges for Venezuelan refugee students in Colombia
The economic, political and social conflicts occurring in Venezuela have caused over three million Venezuelans to flee to countries across Latin America and beyond. This is the largest migrant crisis in the Western Hemisphere and it is worsening by the day.
The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR estimates that, by the end of 2019, Colombia will have more than 2.9 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela. This includes nearly half a million returning Colombian refugees who fled to Venezuela during the 52-year Colombian conflict.
The Syrian crisis has inspired several initiatives in Europe to open higher education to refugees. So what are Colombian higher education institutions doing in response to the Venezuelan refugee crisis? As a result of the Venezuelan crisis, Colombia is facing the largest incoming group of migrants in the region. However, Colombia is also attempting to heal from its own period of instability and a war-torn history.
Colombia is also an example of how universities can be important actors in peacebuilding. However, with the country facing a second crisis, can universities play a role in including another marginalised community, the Venezuelan refugees, in peacebuilding efforts?