Save the Open Learning Initiative for Refugee University Education

Mobile Futures expresses its concern over Central European University’s (CEU) unexpected decision to close the Open Learning Initiative (OLIve), a university refugee education initiative established in Budapest in 2015. 

The Open Learning Initiative (OLIve) runs education programs for displaced people in Europe. It was set up in 2015 as a collaboration between grassroots solidarity groups and students, staff and faculty at CEU. Over 1,400 students of refugee backgrounds have graduated from OLIve programs, making it one of Europe’s largest refugee higher education programs. It has been replicated at four other universities, and internationally recognized through grants and awards. 

This academic year, OLIve received a record number of applications, ran a record number of programs (Weekend, University Preparatory, Hub, Praxis) and was cementing its reputation as a leading force in academic research on refugee education in Europe through a planned major conference and subsequent publication.

On Thursday, January 19th, CEU Rector Shalini Randeria sent an email to the entire CEU community stating that OLIve would end at the close of this academic year. This was done without consultation with OLIve staff or students, the official Project Lead, or the university’s own Senate. Continue reading OLIve’s public statement here.

Mobile Futures encourages academia, other institutions and organisations in Europe and beyond to make public statements and sign the I stand with OLIve petition! Note that the petition closes tomorrow 22.2.2023.