Professor Stefan Dercon at Wolfson College. Credit: John Cairns Photogrpahy
Syria, education and inequality: Hope for a better future

Published on:

Wednesday 25 May


Wolfson College is privileged to be hosting Stefan Dercon, Chief Economist at the UK Department for International Development and Oxford academic, on Thursday 26 May to deliver the fourth and final lecture in our annual Trinity Term lecture series.

Professor Dercon will be speaking about ‘Hope for a better future: Education and jobs as a response to the Syrian refugee crisis’.

Professor Dercon is also Professor of Economic Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and the Economics Department, and Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economics. He was driven to work on the Syrian refugee crisis due to a dissatisfaction with the public policy response, and has travelled to Jordan and Lebanon several times over the last year. Bringing together his experience working on migration and the psychological aspects of poverty and deprivation, he hopes to shed new light on the situation.

“As a chief advisor, with an explicit brief to bring the best evidence to policy making, the question I face all the time is: ‘​On the basis of the best available evidence, what is your judgement for what we ought to do?’​ It is quite a responsibility, but every day a tremendous challenge.” – Professor Stefan Dercon on his role as Chief Economist at the UK Department for International Development

In his lecture, Professor Dercon will endeavour to demonstrate that success in the provision of education and employment opportunities for refugees will be crucially important to ensure that a future rebuilding of Syria becomes feasible. He will unpack some of the misconceptions about the crisis and discuss appropriate long-term solutions, moving beyond shorter-term humanitarian support.

Finally, Professor Dercon will build on his extensive background working on how poor people work to improve their situation by highlighting the disproportionate access the educated middle classes have had to travel to Europe, leaving the less educated in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Ultimately these, often-overlooked countries will bear the greatest burden of the refugee crisis than anywhere in Europe.