How Are Business Schools Tackling The Refugee Crisis?


The UNHCR – the UN’s Refugee Agency – predicts that there are almost 80 million displaced people worldwide, making up around 1% of the world’s population. A dispiriting figure, and one that becomes even more troubling when you hear this number has almost doubled globally in the last ten years.

The hardship and adversity that many of these refugees have faced has been caused by natural disasters, economic hardship, war and persecution. And though many have successfully sought refuge in other, more stable countries, their journeys have not been easy ones, with many facing difficult travel, long times spent in temporary camps, and little help or support from governments.

To coincide with World Refugee Day, Poets & Quants has this week featured refugees that have used business school to forge new lives and opportunities for themselves, and for others.

Helping local refugees launch ventures

“The refugee crisis is one of the worst humanitarian tragedies of our time”, says Linda Tuncay Zayer, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Marketing and incoming Associate Dean at Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business. “Individuals going through the resettlement process in the U.S. and other countries have to navigate a complicated process, including securing a job and earning an income.”

The refugee crisis is something that Professor Tuncay Zaher experienced first-hand whilst on a humanitarian trip in 2016, where she encountered the devastating effects in Lesvos, Greece. “When I returned home, I felt it was important to help in a way that I could. I attended an event where I met the executive director of the Syrian Community Network (SCN), Suzanne Sahloul, who runs a mutual aid organization for Syrian refugees. She explained that there was a…