RSA Singapore Event: Offering Higher Education for Displaced Communities in Southeast Asia - RSA

RSA Singapore Event: Offering Higher Education for Displaced Communities in Southeast Asia


  • Picture of Matthew Barnard
    Matthew Barnard
    RSA Connector, Singapore
  • Education
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Earlier this year, RSA Fellowship Singapore welcomed one of our own Fellows, Dr. Gül Inanc, as our guest speaker for the evening. Our event took place in ‘The Hive’, Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) modernistic teaching and learning space. Gül is a faculty member of the School of Art, Design and Media specialising in the modern diplomatic history of West Asia and history education for peace.

Gül is also the founder of Opening Universities for Refugees, a U.K. based charity, and this was our topic for the evening. At the event, about fifteen RSA Fellows were joined by fifteen students from NTU’s University Scholars Programme. Gül shared how she had wanted to start a meaningful project that would give refugees and displaced people access to higher education.

Gul addresses Fellows and Students at the event

Gül briefly introduced the various projects and collaborations Opening Universities for Refugees currently has. These include projects in Malaysia, Indonesia and New Zealand. One project is a bridging course that helps students transition to university. The organisation also runs an online teacher-to-teacher mentoring sessions where volunteer teachers at refugee centres can get advice from experienced teachers at two private schools in Singapore.

Fellows and students engage with event

We then split into groups and we were encouraged to collaborate to solve a scenario around funding challenges that Gül introduced. It was a very worthwhile evening and a great first time collaboration between RSA Fellows and members of NTU’s scholars programme.

Student participates in event

 Matthew Barnard is the RSA Connector in Singapore. Originally from the UK, Matthew moved to Singapore in September 2014 after more than three years in Wuhan, China, working partly as an Associate Lecturer teaching Oral Communication Skills and Fundamentals of Writing. 

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