Today, at the closing session of the World Forum for Democracy, the Council of Europe announced that the winner of its Democracy Innovation Award was the German initiative Kiron which gives refugees access to higher education worldwide.
Kiron is a German social start-up founded in 2015 which allows refugees to study regardless of their legal status. The study model combines online and offline elements and is offered free of charge and location-independently. The curriculum is based on massive open online courses provided by partner platforms. Kiron aims to foster integration in the host country and create long-term perspectives for displaced persons. Therefore, the eco-system of Kiron also includes language courses as well as mentoring and buddy programmes.
Three initiatives out of the nearly 40 presented at the Forum were shortlisted for the final vote:
- MaYouth Civic Education Initiative (Zimbabwe) – lab 8
- Democracy in Practice (USA/Bolivia) – lab 1
- Higher Education for Refugees (Germany) – lab 13
The Forum brought together 140 speakers from 60 countries and more than 2 000 participants from 100 countries who discussed practical initiatives to address the challenge of “Democracy and equality: does education matter?”
The 2017 World Forum for Democracy will discuss the growing problem of populism, looking particularly at the role of political parties and the media.