Georgia Chalkoutsaki has been involved in the humanitarian field for the last 6 years having
worked in the United Kingdom, Jordan & Greece. She has graduated with a Bachelor’s from the
University of Piraeus, International and European Affairs Department and pursued a Master’s
Degree on International Development, Conflict and Security in the University of Birmingham. In
the framework of her dissertation titled ‘The provision of education for Syrian refugees in the
host countries of Lebanon and Jordan; the issues of access, capacity and quality’, she
conducted a 3-week field visit in these countries and a first interaction with the Middle East. In
2014-2015 she worked in Jordan in the field of human and political rights. She has been a staff
member of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the Sub-Office of Lesvos
since 2016 dealing with child protection and refugee education issues. Co-chairing the Lesvos
Education Working Group she is in constant collaboration with the education actors on the
island as well as the representatives of the Ministry of Education.
Title of the keynote
Education is a basic human right enshrined in the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the 1951 Refugee Convention as well as in a series of other international conventions, European Laws and national legislations which Greece has ratified. However, due to the recent increase of arrivals in combination with the limited capacity of the state, there are currently thousands of refugee and asylum seeking children on the islands with no access to formal education. It needs to be highlighted though that significant steps have been made since 2016 when the first students started attending Greek schools in Lesvos; a more stable presence of Non-governmental organizations offering Non-formal education, the creation of Refugee Education Coordinators positions on behalf of the Ministry of Education and many other factors have led to a more standardized way of working. Nevertheless, the huge gaps and great challenges faced on the field persist.