At 2U, we are united by the belief in the power of great universities to address society’s critical needs. As part of our corporate social responsibility initiatives, we continuously seek out opportunities to amplify our philanthropic impact beyond financial support. By creating programs that leverage the work we do for our university partners, their students, and working professionals, we strive to have even more of a meaningful impact on people’s lives around the world.
Two years ago, we announced our partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a global humanitarian organization that helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict or disaster to recover, survive, and regain control of their future. Like 2Utes, IRC staff are driven by purpose. They are devoted to making a difference for the world’s most vulnerable populations. And they are motivated knowing that their programs have tremendous reach and can dramatically change individual lives for the better.
But when IRC employees are working in areas of conflict, their ability to access educational opportunities to help grow their own knowledge and skills is limited or even non-existent. That’s where our partnership fits in.
Scholarships That Help IRC Staff Make an Impact
Since July 2019, 2U has offered discounted access to select online graduate degree programs delivered by our university partners—as well as full scholarships to a suite of online short courses—for IRC employees all around the world. In that time, four employees have received 50% scholarships for master’s degree programs, while six have received 20% scholarships. But the real impact has come with the short courses.
So far, we’ve delivered full short course scholarships to 155 IRC employees working in 25 countries. According to an IRC survey, 100% of those staff members stated that the course they took was relevant to their work; 100% also said they would recommend a 2U-powered short course to a colleague. That’s a powerful endorsement and a true testament to the quality we deliver for students every day.
IRC USA (Seattle)
An Important Day of Observance and Action for the IRC
This Sunday, June 20, is World Refugee Day, an international day designated by the United Nations to support, protect, and celebrate the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home countries to escape conflict or persecution. The IRC works tirelessly in the weeks and months leading up to, as well as after, World Refugee Day to bring more awareness and support to this important day of observance. Learn more about the IRC’s campaign for World Refugee Day 2021, including ways that you can support refugees.
What an exciting time this is, then, for us to honor the IRC and celebrate the extension of our partnership into 2022. Over the next year, we will continue to offer full scholarships to short courses for IRC staff. In addition, we are currently curating leadership development tracks for two groups of high-potential talent at the IRC—one for women leaders and another for field office leaders.
I look forward to following and supporting the learning journeys of these international groups in the months to come. In the meantime, I’d love to share snapshots of three IRC employees in Ethiopia, Malaysia, and Nigeria who have made a difference for the organization’s mission, and for themselves, with their scholarship to a 2U-powered online short course.
IRC Employee Short Course Snapshots
IRC Employee Short Course Snapshots
The University of Cape Town’s Human Resource Management course provided me the opportunity to acquire an international perspective of my profession and upgrade my knowledge and skills.— Abenezer Mengesha, Human Resources and Administration Manager with IRC Ethiopia
Abenezer Mengesha, a Human Resources and Administration Manager in Ethiopia
Online Short Course: Human Resource Management (through the University of Cape Town)
Abenezer implements HR management strategies that enable his program to recruit, train, and retain a high-performing and motivated workforce. Among his responsibilities are ensuring smooth on-boarding for new employees, benefits management, advising employees on training options, and managing employee relations. In Ethiopia, the IRC focuses on helping displaced persons and conflict-impacted communities by providing emergency relief and implementing rehabilitation projects in the country’s Oromia Region.
“I gained a lot from the Human Resource Management course, especially from the recruitment, selection, assessment, and on-boarding module,” Abenezer says. “I directly applied the new skills in my daily efforts to attract and retain the right talent.”
Throughout the course, Abenezer interacted with students from several different countries, gleaning insights from around the world. “This provided me the opportunity to acquire an international perspective of my profession and upgrade my knowledge and skills,” he says. “It will help me attain my career goal of eventually working for an international organization outside of my country.”
Data-driven decision-making is extremely important in any field, so I wanted to use LSE’s Data Analysis for Management course to grow in this area, so that I could add more value to any function or role that I am in.— Daphne Danaraj, Cultural Orientation Manager with IRC Malaysia
Daphne Danaraj, a Cultural Orientation Manager in Malaysia
Online Short Course: Data Analysis for Management (through the London School of Economics and Applied Science)
Daphne oversees the team that provides cultural orientation to refugees prior to their resettlement in the U.S. Her work ranges from developing curriculum and managing class schedules to organizing and conducting monitoring and evaluation. Malaysia, she explains, is host to a large number of refugees from around the world, the majority of whom fled from Burma. Access to education, health care, and legal employment are all out of reach for most of them.
“I have always been interested in numbers and data,” Daphne says. “Data-driven decision-making is extremely important in any field, so I wanted to use the Data Analysis for Management course to grow in this area, so that I could add more value to any function or role that I am in.”
Since completing the course, Daphne has been able to incorporate more data analysis into her day-to-day work—improving her planning, resource management, reporting skills, and data visualization techniques along the way. “The overall learning experience was wonderful and came at just the right time,” she says.
The skills I received provided me a distinct edge when I applied for my present post as a manager. The Advanced Project Management course has set me in a positive direction towards my goal of one day becoming a leading public health specialist.— Mubarak Usman, Nutrition Manager with IRC Nigeria
Mubarak Usman, a Nutrition Manager in Nigeria
Online Short Course: Advanced Project Management (through the University of Cape Town)
Mubarak’s role is to ensure that the IRC’s nutrition interventions maximize their impact and get to the most vulnerable people in some of the hardest-to-reach areas of northeast Nigeria. Attending planning meetings, following up on field implementations, and analyzing project budgets and implementation data are all part of his regular work day.
People in northeast Nigeria have been devastated by the protracted insurgency, he explains, with many broken homes and families facing extreme hardships, ranging from food and clean water shortages to gender-based violence. “My drive to do more for our beneficiaries influenced my decision to enroll in the Advanced Project Management course,” he says. “I had some project management experience, but it was more conceptual than operational.”
“The skills I received provided me a distinct edge when I applied for my present post as a manager,” Mubarak continues. “They help me contribute meaningfully to the success of our projects, even after only being in the role for a few months. The course has set me in a positive direction towards my goal of one day becoming a leading public health specialist who can impact health outcomes throughout Africa.”
Want to know what you can do to support the IRC and its mission? Check out Rescue.org to discover five ways you can take action for refugees around the world.