MIT Media Lab Refugee Learning Accelerator 2017

MIT Media Lab Refugee Learning Accelerator 2017

Deadline: September 10, 2017

MIT Media Lab is receiving applications for the Refugee Learning Accelerator. The Accelerator supports engineers and computer scientists from the Middle East to create technologies for refugee learners. They provide access to learning, mentorship, and funding. The Media Lab is an antidisciplinary research lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that designs technologies for people to create a better future.

The Refugee Learning Accelerator is a six month program, lasting from October 2017 to April 2018. This is not a typical accelerator: organizers are more interested in building a community of innovators who can collaborate to build technologies which address some of the Middle East’s biggest challenges, rather than launching the next billion dollar company. This is an opportunity to learn alongside some of the most interesting work happening at the MIT Media Lab.


  • Open to Computer scientists, electrical engineers and designers from Syria*, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine, who want to use their tech skills to support refugee learners;
  • Ideal participants are the kind of people who are active on Stack Overflow, know their way around GitHub repositories, or have built things at a hackathon or two;
  • You must apply in a team of 2-5 people. If you don’t have people to team up with head over to their Facebook Marketplace to find other prospective participants with complementary skills;
  • You must have a working knowledge of Arabic and English;
  • You must have a valid passport/travel documents. Successful participants will be invited to a workship in Amman or Beirut during the Prototype phase;
  • You don’t need to have an idea to apply; the Ideate phase is designed to get you up to speed on what’s already happening in the field of digital education for refugees and to help you start thinking about what your team might be able to contribute.

* Unfortunately they are unable to work with current residents of Syria; Syrians living elsewhere in the Middle East or abroad are eligible; for Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq or Palestine, applicants may be residents and/or citizens.


  • Interested applicants are to complete the online application form. This application will take 20-30 minutes to fill out.
  • You must apply as a team. You will need to have the contact details for all team members (including Github account, Stackoverflow account, & a URL for personal websites, if applicable).  In addition, there are 4 long-form questions for the team to answer together.

For more information, see FAQ or visit Refugee Learning Accelerator.