In response to the unprecedented acceleration of forced migration throughout the world due to war, persecution, poverty, and climate change, Bard (Annandale and Berlin), Bennington, Sarah Lawrence, and Vassar colleges joined forces in early 2016 to found the Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement and Education (CFMDE). While governments, NGOs, religious relief agencies, and tech innovators across the globe have devised an array of specific—and sometimes conflicting—responses to forced migration, we came together because we believe that institutions of higher learning can and must have a different, but equally vital, focus. Given the unresolved (and interrelated) challenges of climate change, global inequality, technological innovation, and war, forced migration will continue to increase and its implications, we believe, will dominate global politics as well as domestic debates for decades to come. As institutions of higher learning we are uniquely positioned to drawn on our robust local, national, and international educational and cultural networks to prepare our students for a deeper, more nuanced understanding of forced migration and displacement. Indeed, the coming era of human movement will, without doubt, challenge our existing national and global institutions, and our students must be able to respond to these challenges with intelligence, compassion, and ingenuity.
The CFMDE is excited to launch a Digital Classroom on CES’s online publication EuropeNow. This space will share educational resources to further conversations and actions at higher education institutions around the world. The videotaped lectures, curated multimedia bibliographies, and EuropeNow issues devoted to forced migration can augment syllabi or public displays and events to generate more informed and productive—and less hostile—conversations about forced migration.