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Japanese Language Schools & Syrian Scholars Initiative

Since the civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, millions of Syrians have been forcibly displaced.

In 2016, the Japan Association for Refugees (JAR) developed an education pathways program for Syrian refugees in Turkey, admitting students in Japanese language schools. In 2017, the Japan ICU Foundation joined the effort by establishing the Syrian Scholars Initiative to admit Syrian refugees to International Christian University (ICU). 


Between 2017 and March 2022, the two programs welcomed a total of 31 students to Japan (25 students to Japanese language schools and 6 students to ICU). In July 2021, Pathways Japan (PJ) was established to take over the education pathways program from JAR. After the Afghan government fell to the Taliban in August 2021, PJ expanded the eligibility of the language school program to Afghan refugees.


The Japanese language school program provides two years of Japanese language education. It covers airfare to Japan and tuition, and students are introduced to part-time work to support themselves. The Syrian Scholars Initiative provides four years of undergraduate studies. It is a full scholarship that provides airfare to Japan, tuition, accommodation and stipend. Most of the graduates of the language school program have gone on to universities. The first cohort of the Syrian Scholars Initiative will graduate in June 2022. 


Below are interviews of students who were admitted to Japanese language schools and ICU.

Interview in English

  • Rashad (International Christian University, 2019-2023) - Interviewed in July 2021

Interviews in Japanese

  • Zakaria (need to confirm spelling w Orii san) (Language school, 2018-2020) - Interviewed in January 2022

  • Suzan (Language school, 2018-2020)- Interviewed in September 2021

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