Refugee Ed.

Having lived through the birth of the personal computer, the instant meme was that the world would soon be divided by those that are connected to the world wide web and those who were not. We didn’t realize then how prescient that was, and we especially did not know that by 2016 we would be in the middle of world migration crisis of biblical portions driven by environmental catastrophes, religious wars, and socialization fails.

Photo by Oxfam International Mentao refugee camp in Burkina Faso Flickr/creativecommons

Photo by Oxfam International
Mentao refugee camp in Burkina Faso

Unless and until we sponsor the emergence of voluntary, and most important, humane, associations to permanently displace the coercive systems that enslave us, we will remain a world in crisis. (See VenusPlusX’s Manifesto for more on how this change is accomplished.)

First rarely, then occasionally, and sometimes frequently these day, brilliant voluntary associations emerge as flowering, life-saving weeds through the pavement of our oppression. In the 11th century, for example, hospice emerged and continues (even in its modern day commercialized version) as an admirable, revolutionary, and entirely voluntary association guaranteeing dignity to the terminally ill.

Imagination and brilliance have once again combined, along with technology, to bring connectedness and world-class education and training, and real earning potential to the most disenfranchised among us. Coursera is an online educational platform, and Coursera for Refugees is being made available free through the US State Department. It will help displaced persons start new careers or requalify for standards of new employers who often do not recognize original job qualifications.

Nonprofit groups that support refugees in any country, as well as individual refugees, can apply for fully funded access to Coursera’s course catalog—meaning they’ll be able to take all of the platform’s classes and also skip the costs of obtaining professional certificates from them.

The new program is not without its critics, but the kinks and greater accessibility are being worked out. Still, it is bold step in what the I-Ching identified centuries ago, “work on what has been spoiled.” We have poisoned our earth and set tribe upon tribe over natural resources and our birthright of personal sovereignty. This revolution of new ideas, voluntary and humane, is the only cure.




Alison Gardner