• Signing ceremony for the renewal of the UNHCR Refugee Higher Education Program (RHEP) was held


Signing ceremony for the renewal of the UNHCR Refugee Higher Education Program (RHEP) was held

    On Tuesday, April 19th, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Japan, the United Nations Association of UNHCR, and the University held an agreement signing ceremony at the University's Global Square for the purpose of renewing the agreement on the UNHCR Refugee Higher Education Program (RHEP), a recommendation admission system for refugees.

    Karen Farkas, UNHCR Representative in Japan, Rei Kasai Secretariat from UNHCR Japan Agency and Senior Legal Assistant Masayuki Kawai, Kohei Amanuma (Public Relations and Awareness Program for Refugee Higher Education Programs Representative) from the United Nations Association attended the ceremony, and from the University Chairperson of the Board of Trustees Yasunori Tashiro, President Masashi Suzuki, and General Director of the Administrations Center Masashi Nakayama attended the ceremony.

    The University first signed this agreement in 2016 and has accepted one undergraduate student each year as a scholarship student since April 2017. The university has waived tuition fees for four years in principle for these students, has provided scholarships to support living expenses, and has provided educational opportunities for refugees who have difficulty attending Japanese universities due to economic reasons.

    Furthermore, in June 2021, the University Graduate Schools Division also signed this agreement, and from this year, we started accepting one person into the Graduate School of International Peace Studies (Master's Program). With the expiration of the term of the agreement approaching, an agreement signing ceremony was held to extend the agreement (period: From April 1st, 2022 to March 31st, 2027).

    At the signing ceremony, Mr. Farkas, UNHCR Representative in Japan, said, "The Japanese government recently announced that it will accept refugees from Ukraine. The current refugees are mostly women and children, and the men who remain there may become displaced in the future. UNHCR is working not only to provide necessary supplies but also to respond to assistance from various organizations and to coordinate the acceptance of refugees in neighboring countries. At this time, I am pleased that Soka University will continue to accept refugees. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Soka University for providing this opportunity for refugees to study not only in undergraduate programs but also in graduate programs. Let us continue to work toward solving the refugee problem while deepening our bonds."

    Next, while reporting on the status of the six students who studied at the university and their current learning, President Suzuki stated, "The University has an educational environment based on the founding spirit and the essence of "global citizens" that the founder has shown. In this environment, students learn to accept diverse values and cultivate cooperativeness through interactions with students of different backgrounds, including international students. We will continue to work hand-in-hand with the UNHCR to ensure that refugees can receive an education."

    After the signing ceremony, the United Nations Association of UNHCR presented a letter of appreciation for donations made by the University in March of this year as humanitarian assistance to refugees and displaced persons due to the situation in Ukraine.