Category Archives: Politics

Not Forgetting the Refugees

March 6th, 2020

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As countries around the world are grappling with containing the coronavirus as the latest health emergency, one crisis that has not diminished but continues to persist is the plight of refugees. According to the UNHRC, we are now seeing the highest levels of displacement of people on record.

Here are a few facts as reported by UNHRC:

  • An unprecedented 70.8 million people around the world have been forced from home.
  • Nearly 25.9 million are refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.
  • There are also millions of stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.
  • Nearly 1 person is forcibly displaced every two seconds as a result of conflict or persecution.

The unfathomable harrowing journeys of refugees are heartbreaking and too many to recount and stories where there are glimmers of hope for those who have found refuge and sanctuary are too few and far in between. The video shared by UNHCR offers us a glimpse into a young man’s journey from Syria to Strasbourg, France.

LINK TO VIDEO

https://www.unhcr.org/theo-james.html

In the video, the actor, Theo James, shares his story that connects him to the refugee experience. His grandfather, Dr. Nicholas Taptiklis, was a physician who escaped from Nazi-occupied Greece during WWII. He made his way by boat and then overland through Turkey and sought refuge in Damascus, Syria. As soon as WWII ended, Dr. Taptiklis left Syria and started working in Gottingen, Germany with the organization that was the predecessor to the UN Refugee Agency where he fought typhoid and tuberculosis in the refugee camps.

As James says in the video “We have to remember that only two generations ago, Europeans were going the other way and people in Damascus were helping people like my grandfather.”

Putting a name and face to the plight of a person fleeing war and persecution brings their experience closer to home. It also helps us see that our similarities outweigh our differences. “One thing that struck me is how similar he was to me and how similar he was to some of my closest friends from university,” James says about Housam, the Syrian refugee he had met in Strasbourg. Please watch the video. It is brief with a poignant message.

If you wish to show support of UNHCR, click on the donate button in this link.


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Colombia Grants Citizenship and Work Permits to Venezuelan Refugees

February 7th, 2020

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Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Colombia has pledged to be the most educated country in Latin America by 2025. It has laid out several initiatives to achieve this goal which we covered in a blog post last year.

Colombia is also facing an influx of refugees from its neighboring Venezuela. According to UN Refugee Agency, there are more than 1.6 million Venezuelans living in Colombia and approximately 60% lack a regular status. The UN predicts the number of Venezuelans in Colombia to rise to 2.4 million by the end of 2020.

How is Colombia addressing the refugees from Venezuelan?

Work Permit – Colombia is offering migrants work permits in order to bring them into the legal economy. They are offering one kind of permit that renews the visas given to migrants who entered Colombia before November 29, 2019. The second type of visa is given to Venezuelans with formal job offers.

Citizenship – According to an August 5, 2019 report from the New York Times, “Colombia will give citizenship to more than 24,000 undocumented children of Venezuelan refugees born in the country, a rare humanitarian measure amid tightening migration policies elsewhere in the hemisphere.” Colombia will issue passports to babies born to Venezuelan parents on its territory from August 2015 until August 2021.

Access to Healthcare and Education – These permits allow Venezuelan migrants to have access to healthcare and education in Colombia.

Colombia sees this approach as a more effective way of addressing the Venezuelan refugee crisis. It argues that is a more humane and economically sound approach rather than closing its borders and cracking down on undocumented refugees which only perpetuate human trafficking and its illegal revenue stream.

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/05/world/americas/colombia-citizenship-venezuelans.html

https://newsus.cgtn.com/news/2020-02-06/Colombia-offers-work-permits-for-Venezuelan-migrants-NQuqQ8fVBu/index.html


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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International Students Enrollment Numbers Drop

November 22nd, 2019

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On Monday, November 18, 2019, the Institute of International Education (IIE) released the latest 2019 Open Doors report confirming that international student enrolment in the US is steadily declining. The annual Open Doors report is compiled jointly by the IIE and the US State Department.

In this week’s blog we will offer a quick summary of the outcomes of this report.

  1. For the 2018-2019 school among 19,828,000 total students in institutions of higher education in the U.S.,1,095,299 were international students which is 5.5% of all college and university students in the U.S.
  2. According to VOA new: The numbers showed a slight increase in total international enrolment, 0.05 percent from the previous year, but a decrease in new international student enrolment, -0.9 percent.
  3. The Open Doors Report shows decreases in undergraduate (-2.4%), graduate (-1.3%) and non-degree (-0.5%) enrollments.

Subsequent news reports reacting to the 2019 Open Doors cite the following as reasons for the declining numbers of international student enrollments:

  1. Negative perception of President Donald Trump and the growing negative rhetoric regarding international visitors, immigrants, and non-U.S. citizens.
  2. International students concern about gun violence and their safety on U.S. college campuses and cities at large.
  3. Sharp rise in value of S. dollar in 2015 and 2016.
  4. Saudi Arabia’s decision in 2016 to cut back on its scholarship impacted the number of Saudi students coming to study in the U.S.
  5. According to an OpEd by Justin Fox in Bloomberg, “public universities in the U.S. aren’t quite as desperate for full-tuition-paying international students as they were a few years ago, with state per-student spendingup 15% in real terms since 2012-2013.”
  6. S. higher education faces fierce competition from Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom when it comes to attracting international students. Lower tuition and safety make these countries a more attractive option.

According to estimates from NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the continued decline in international student enrollment since the fall of 2016 has cost the US economy $11.8 billion and more than 65,000 jobs.

Can the U.S. reverse this tide? Can it reclaim its #1 ranking as the destination for international students and regain its dominance? If so, how?

Helpful links:

https://studyinternational.com/news/trump-blame-decline-international-students-us

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-11-18/trump-is-scaring-away-some-foreign-students

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/19/business/international-students-decline/index.html

https://www.insidehighered.com/admissions/article/2019/11/18/international-enrollments-declined-undergraduate-graduate-and


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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5 Facts on Hong Kong Protests and their Impact on its Education System

November 15th, 2019

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Photo credit: Nora Tam

The anti-government protests continue for the 24th week in Hong Kong. The protesters–many young high school and university students–have dug in at several university campuses across Hong Kong. The latest epicenter of the protests was the Chinese University of Hong Kong which this past Tuesday evening became the site of violent clashes between police and the protesters. Tensions continue to run high and the confrontations between protesters and police have turned violent.

The unrest in Hong Kong was triggered by a now-withdrawn extradition bill which would have enabled the transfer of fugitives to mainland China. The movement, as reported by Hong Kong Free Press, “has evolved into wider calls for democratic reform and accountability for the police handling of the crisis.”

Here are a few facts on the impact the protests are having on the schools and universities in Hong Kong:

  1. Hong Kong’s Education Bureau announced that all schools would shut on Thursday, November 14th. This means the suspension of kindergarten, primary and secondary school classes citing safety concerns arising from the city’s three consecutive days of unrest. Source
  2.  Most of the city’s universities and other higher educational institutions also announced there would be no classes on Thursday, November 14th. At least 10 have suspended classes the rest of the week. Source
  3.  The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and Baptist University (BU) had cancelled all on-campus lessons. Several universities had announced they would be introducing online learning and other assessment methods for the remaining weeks of the term. Source
  4. Some exchange students are being advised to leave Hong Kong as the protests continue. Norway and Denmark, for example, have advised their students to return home. Source
  5. A group of students from Mainland China were helped by Hong Kong police to leave their campus after it was barricaded by demonstrators. Many are taking advantage of a program that offers them a week of free accommodation in hotels and hostels in the neighboring city of Shenzhen. Source

This is an on-going crisis in Hong Kong and ACEI-Global will include updates as they become available. Please follow us on Facebook for continued updates on Hong Kong and education news from around the world.

Sources:
https://in.reuters.com/article/hongkong-protests/protesters-block-central-hong-kong-streets-as-chaos-grips-city-idINKBN1XN04O?il=0
https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/11/13/hong-kong-govt-condemns-violence-cancels-school-classes-u-turn/
https://www.chron.com/news/education/article/The-Latest-Classes-suspended-at-Hong-Kong-schools-14830782.php
https://www.chron.com/news/education/article/The-Latest-Classes-suspended-at-Hong-Kong-schools-14830782.php


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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“In the war against fake news “white privilege” is losing.

September 20th, 2019

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Some time ago, a friend replied to one of my Facebook posts where I had shared an article on the college admission scandal. My friend had simply written “white privilege.” In response, another friend wrote that she was “so sick of white privileged (sic) being thrown around.” I realized that she was correct in this case, in that the article didn’t really have much to do with white privilege. However, after a few more responses from her it quickly became clear to me that she didn’t understand what the term meant. She talked about how her father came as an immigrant and made his way to success. The fact that she wanted to make it clear that he had earned his money cemented in my mind, that she really didn’t understand what “white privilege” meant.

I decided to find the best definition I could, so I returned to McIntosh’s 1989 seminal article “White Privilege, Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” then wrote my own Facebook-length precis. I was certain that once she understood the concept better, she would change her opinion. She did not. In fact, she insisted that that not all white people were rich, which made it abundantly clear that she wasn’t open to considering that this shameful sounding phrase could mean anything other than that white people were successful just because they were white. In fact, the concept of “white privilege” has little to do with money and success but more to do with the opportunities afforded white people just because they aren’t people of color (which can lead to money and success).

There’s a house in my neighborhood which I pass almost daily. Posted on the front is a hand-written sign that reads “All lives are equal therefore all lives matter.” Next to it a confederate flag with a middle finger sticking up in the center, proudly hangs. Each time I pass I am reminded of all the slogans various communities have come up with to try to gain acceptance and or understanding of their plight.

Black lives matter

Me too

Safe space signs

The rainbow pride flag

Diversity and Inclusion

And then I think of the backlash to all of these movements. I was recently staying at an Airbnb and was talking to the host, who wanted to joke about his “man boobs” but told me he felt he no longer could “because of that ridiculous Me Too movement.” Another example of a lack of understanding of the problem.

I recently saw another sign in a yard that read “we support our police. They work every day to save our lives.” I agree but I can’t help thinking this is the backlash against Black Lives Matter, which never meant to say that police lives didn’t

As a lifelong student of racism, homophobia, sexism, let’s just say all the isms; I am constantly in dialogue with people of all colors on issues of race and more so now that I work in diversity and inclusion. So, in an attempt to simplify the messages, I came up with the following:

White privilege ≠ White shame

Black Lives Matter ≠ White and Blue lives don’t matter

Safe space ≠ Coddling

Me too ≠ you can’t flirt with women or ask them out on a date anymore

Diversity and Inclusion ≠ you have to like all cultures

Though with the last one, I must add that I agree with Trevor Noah who, in his Netflix show, Son of Patricia said, “There should be a rule in America. You can hate immigrants all you want but if you do, you don’t get to eat their food.”

Helpful links:
https://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/mcintosh.pdf
https://www.vulture.com/2018/11/trevor-noah-netflix-special-son-of-patricia-best-jokes.html

Reading List:
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo

Informative Podcasts:
“1619” The New York Times
“Seeing White,” Scene on Radio


k_hylen
Kathleen Hylen, M.A. International Education Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Graduated with honors from UC, Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Community Studies, focus on anti-bias. Kathleen is also a member of ACEI’s Professional Consultancy Team. Her focus is on helping institutions and organizations develop and/or bolster their diversity and inclusion strategies. For more information, please contact ACEI at acei@acei-global.org.

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3 Quick Facts on Why the Demand for Military Education is on the Rise in Russia

September 13th, 2018

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In a recent post on University World News, Eugene Vorotnikov writes: “The demand for studying in military higher education institutions in Russia has doubled over the past six years and is continuing to grow while many traditional universities are being closed.”

During the USSR era, Military universities in Russia were very popular and deemed as prestigious institutions but dropped in popularity after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But, the situation is changing and the Military universities are enjoying a comeback. According to the Ministry of Education and Science (MOE), the number of applicants seeking admission to military universities has almost doubled since 2013.  Currently, the total number of students and cadets studying at such higher education institutions is estimated to exceed 70,000.

Here’s a quick recap of why Military universities are enjoying a resurgence and why Russians are choosing a military education over universities:

  1. Cost

A key factor is cost. The big difference between traditional universities and military universities is free tuition. Students enrolled at military universities have the cost of their tuition covered by the state.

  1. Employment

Securing a job after graduation is another key factor. University graduates are facing limited employment opportunities which according to recent statistics from the Ministry of Education shows 40% have difficulties with finding employment on graduation. Almost half of university graduates are unable to find jobs relevant to their specialty and end up in low-skilled jobs. On the other hand, according to Russia’s MOE and the Ministry of Defense, military universities graduates are seen as more employable,

  1. Guaranteed Income

On graduation from the military universities, graduates receive an officer position in the Russian army that offers them an entrance salary of RUB50,000 to RUB60,000 (US$760-$910) per month that is much higher than the average salary offered to a university graduate.

As the education reforms continue to be underway in Russia with underperforming traditional universities placed on list of closures, military universities are enjoying a renaissance and growing both in popularity and prestige.

Source: https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=201909051551435


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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8 Quick Facts about Canada’s New International Education Strategy

September 6th, 2019

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If you haven’t heard, Canada has outlined a five-year CA$148 million plan to bolster its international student recruitment and study abroad. The government sees this as a valuable investment for a future work force that will have an international perspective with strong global networks and cultural savviness in new markets and regions that will only strengthen Canada.

What is Canada doing to diversify its global recruiting efforts in the tertiary sector?

  1. First, it’s the federal government’s financial commitment to the initiative and Canada is doing this by pledging nearly CA$30-million over the next 5 years for its diversification efforts.
  2. Targeting countries with a large and growing middle class which may have limited capacity to accommodate the higher education needs of their student population.
  3. Focusing on regions of the world where receiving a Canadian education in English or French is appealing.
  4. Brazil, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, and Ukraine, are the countries where the Canadian government will focus its marketing efforts.
  5. The government will also attract international students to attend schools in Canada’s smaller cities to bring economic benefits to regions that have received fewer immigrants.
  6. The government will make it possible for some of the international students who complete their studies in Canada to apply for permanent residency in an effort to retain their knowledge and networks.
  7. The government has also planned to allocate $95-million to encourage and support Canadian students to study abroad in countries in Asia and Latin America.
  8. The initiative will also dedicate financial support for study abroad opportunities for Indigenous and low-income students, and students with disabilities.

Sources:

https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-trudeau-government-outlines-five-year-148-million-plan-to-attract/

https://thepienews.com/news/canada-federal-budget-millions/


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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