Books Not Bombs’ campus organizers created $1.9 million worth of scholarships and emergency funding open to Syrian students whose education was affected by the on-going conflict.
In Fall 2017, we piloted the Books Not Bombs Fellowship, a new fund to provide supplementary funding to displaced students of any nationality pursuing higher education. In coordination with our partner Karam Foundation, our campus organizers, educators and community supporters fundraised for the Fellowship through community events such as the Refugees Welcome To Dinner initiative, which resulted in our ability to provide funding support for four student fellows. The pilot fund supported four students in the United States, Jordan, and Lebanon before concluding at the end of 2017 and is currently on hiatus.
In March 2017, we established an emergency fund for students impacted by U.S. Executive Order 13769, known as the travel and Muslim ban, at the University of Southern California. The GSG Emergency Fund for Undocumented and International Students has since raised $60,000 in emergency funding for students facing visa issues, and has also helped students who benefit from the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) by paying the fees to renew their status.
After the travel ban was put into effect, we released a call and petition toolkit to campus organizers to urge their university presidents to speak out and defend their students. We received thousands of signatures and public statements from university presidents at the University of California, Columbia University and University of Michigan.
We designed a comprehensive lesson plan on the Syrian and refugee education crisis for K-12 and higher education teachers. Teach For America partnered with us and distributed our lesson plan to their network of teachers and alumni, ensuring that thousands of young students will have the opportunity to learn important lessons about the ongoing crisis. You can download a copy on our Resources page.
We’ve hosted workshops at over a dozen higher education conferences, sharing our advocacy and technical expertise to train hundreds of student leaders, educators and administrators on how to create a successful scholarship program on campus. We recently trained 70 chapter presidents of AIESEC, the world’s largest student-run volunteer organization. We provide ongoing training and coaching for students through in-person consultations, webinars and freely available toolkits and brochures.
We’ve provided hands-on student advising for several Syrian students who were detained, deported or trapped overseas in the wake of the travel ban. We visited two Syrian students stuck in Turkey to provide direct assistance and academic planning, and have consulted many others throughout the region. To raise awareness of their plight, we interviewed them on film and distributed their stories through our own channels and throughout the media.