Digital Student Lab 3.0 [EN]

Hope away from Home.
A world where refugees are always included.

On the occasion of the World Refugee Day, June 20, the Bulgarian Council for Refugees and Migrants organized a Digital Student Lab to create essays related to innovations for the integration of refugees.

Digital Student Lab will provide a platform for students to publish essays with evidence-based arguments and analysis on various thematic areas related to innovations for refugee integration. Papers will support the debates on these key topics. Abstracts can attract the attention of participants and stakeholders, including refugee-led organizations on refugee protection and integration issues. The findings and recommendations of the abstracts will raise awareness of the adaptation, socio-economic and socio-cultural inclusion and integration of refugees.

The essays produced will serve as advocacy tools for refugee inclusion and integration.

Authors of papers included in Digital Student Lab 3.0 will receive remuneration.

Abstracts for Digital Student Lab 3.0 are planned in the following thematic areas: ​

Employment innovation, impact sourcing, impact sourcing and refugee entrepreneurship

Refugee entrepreneurship not only empowers refugees themselves, but also leads to positive change in host communities. This refers to entrepreneurial ventures undertaken by refugees, where they set up and run their own businesses using their skills, experience and cultural background. Refugee entrepreneurship provides an opportunity for refugees to regain control of their lives, promoting economic self-sufficiency and reducing their dependence on aid. Refugee entrepreneurs often bring unique perspectives, cultural diversity and innovative ideas, enriching the entrepreneurial environment and promoting social integration. By supporting refugee entrepreneurship, societies can harness the potential of refugees.

Innovations in refugee education and inclusive educational practices

The education of refugees is an important aspect to ensure their inclusion and integration. Refugee education initiatives aim to provide educational opportunities to both refugee children and adults. They focus on addressing the unique challenges refugees face for real inclusion in education systems such as language barriers, trauma, interrupted learning and limited resources. Refugee education initiatives aim to provide a safe and supportive learning environment, offering a range of educational services, including Bulgarian language acquisition, academic curriculum, vocational training and psychosocial support. Education enables refugees to rebuild their lives, contribute to their communities and prepare for a dignified future, laying the foundation for their successful integration and long-term self-reliance.

Innovation through digitalization for refugee inclusion and integration

Refugee integration and digitalization go hand in hand, offering innovative solutions to overcome barriers and promote the inclusion of displaced persons in host communities. Digitization has changed the way refugees access information, services and opportunities. It provided them with new channels to connect, communicate and navigate their new environment. Through digital platforms and apps, refugees have access to language learning tools, job portals, online education and resources for cultural integration, breaking down language and geographic barriers. Digitization also facilitates the coordination of refugee support services and organizations, allowing organizations and governments to streamline processes and provide more effective assistance. Digitization enables refugees to share their stories, skills and experiences with a global audience, promoting understanding, empathy and recognition of their contributions.

Innovation through youth participation for the integration of refugee youth

Refugee integration is strongly linked to the active participation of young people, as they bring fresh perspectives, energy and innovative ideas to the humanitarian context. Engaging young refugees and local youth in integration efforts creates opportunities for mutual learning, cultural exchange and social cohesion. The involvement of youth and youth-led organizations in refugee integration initiatives can take various forms such as mentoring programmes, educational exchanges, sports and arts activities and support for entrepreneurship. By actively involving young refugees, their voices are amplified, their experiences become more visible, and thus their specific needs and aspirations are met. Furthermore, youth engagement promotes intercultural understanding, breaks down stereotypes and promotes social integration in the wider community. In this way, it enables young refugees to develop essential skills, build networks and contribute to the society they now call home. When youth from diverse backgrounds come together, they have the potential to create inclusive spaces and bridge cultural differences, paving the way for a more harmonious and united society.

Innovations for refugee integration through sport and culture

Sport and culture play an important role in promoting the integration of refugees by promoting social cohesion, bridging cultural differences and creating inclusive spaces for interaction and cooperation. Through sports and cultural initiatives, refugees and members of the host community can come together, breaking down barriers and building relationships based on shared interests and teamwork. Sport provides a universal language that transcends cultural and linguistic differences, allowing refugees to participate, showcase their skills and gain recognition for their talents. In addition, cultural events, festivals and artistic initiatives offer opportunities for refugees to share their cultural heritage, traditions and artistic performances with the host community.

Who can participate?

Students – bachelors and masters in in Bulgarian universities.

How to participate?

By completing the online application form and submitting the topic and abstract (up to 300 words) to the referee by 10 July. By July 20th, participants whose topics and abstracts have been approved will be informed in order to proceed with the development of full abstracts and their submission by August 20th. Accepted abstracts will be published online by September 20.

Where will the essays be presented?

The essays will be published online on the Digital Student Lab 3.0 platform in the Refugee Academic Portal. The abstracts will also be published and distributed as an e-book.

The authors of the essays will be invited to present the topics during key forums related to refugee integration.

What are the technical requirements for the abstracts?

10-12 pages (approx. 2500 characters per page without padding)

A minimum of 10 scientific sources cited (Harvard citation system)

Structure of an abstract: Introduction, Exposition, Conclusion, Bibliography

Digital Student Lab is implemented within the implementation of the project „Advocacy for the Integration of Refugees in Bulgaria“, financed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency).