Interview with theme convenors of one of six 2023 UKFIET conference themes, ‘Conflict, crisis, climate and migration’: Chris Berry, Education Adviser, UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, and Rachael Fitzpatrick, Senior Researcher, Education Development Trust.

What excites you about your theme?

We are very excited to be convening the sub-theme on conflict, crisis, climate and migration. Through our work on programmes and research in fragile and conflict-affected-states, in addition to and including countries increasingly affected by the negative impacts of the climate and environmental crisis, we have seen the scale of the challenge first hand. There are estimated to be 222 million children and youth affected by crises, with this number continually growing. The number of people displaced by crisis passed 100 million for the first time in 2022. Globally, the climate emergency declarations have been declared in 2,318 jurisdictions in 40 countries, affecting over 1 billion citizens. There is very little evidence to underpin policy and programming that keeps crisis-affected children and youth safe and learning. The UKFIET 2023 conference is a fantastic opportunity to bring together academics, policy makers, and programme implementers to collectively think through how faster progress can be made. Currently the evidence base is thin.

How does this link to the overall 2023 conference theme?

This year’s conference theme is about social and environmental justice – the interplay between education, conflict, crisis, climate and migration is central to that overall theme. How can we achieve more equal rights when more than half of school-aged refugees are unable to access education and 100 million children and youth are displaced from education each year by climate-related events such as the recent floods in Pakistan. Girls are particularly impacted by crisis – they are twice as likely to be out of school, compared to their peers in more stable contexts – and children with disability are even more disadvantaged.

What kinds of papers/events would you like to see submitted under your theme?

We are keen to generate fresh ideas and thinking on this important topic. We will be looking out for proposals which:

  • Help to make progress on the conceptualisation of aspects of this sub-theme, such as links between education and climate change
  • Spotlight country experiences such as the response to the floods in Pakistan, or the experience of the Rohingya in Bangladesh
  • Encourage learning and synthesis across different contexts
  • Bring a range of voices together to share experiences and generate new ideas
  • Build the evidence base on what works to deliver education for crisis-affected children and youth
  • Help to further policy-making on issues such as education for refugees and internally displaced children

Find out more about the theme