Rita Akroush

Rita Akroush, Class of 2017

Major: Theater

Current Role: Program officer, Mosaik Education and independent artist

Current Location: London, UK

Home Country: Jordan

By Andy Gregory

Not every high school student in the world has the luxury of accessing higher education or has help applying for opportunities, especially refugees whose education is often interrupted. Luckily, there are people like Rita Akroush, Class of 2017, working to bridge the gap.

NYUAD: What is your role in the education sector?

Akroush: I work as a program officer at a UK-based charity called Mosaik Education. We help refugee youth in Lebanon and Jordan access higher education.

NYUAD: What specific barriers do your students face?

Applying to higher education is often a big challenge for the youth we work with, for various reasons. Sometimes their studies are interrupted in their home country, or they are unable to find suitable opportunities, or they don’t have these essential skills to apply.

NYUAD: One of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is to promote quality education and lifetime learning. How does your work line up with that?

Around the world only 5 percent of refugees can access higher education. The UNHCR is trying to change that and we’re helping by working with refugee students to identify suitable colleges and majors, help them find potential scholarships, and ultimately complete a high-quality application.

NYUAD: What does success look like to you?

A lot of our students successfully apply and some are accepted. I have been a mentor in more than one cohort so I attend sessions and make sure we have a connection, offering one-on-one support. It’s always great to hear when a student accesses an educational opportunity.

Rita’s second passion is performance art. She co-founded a theater company and finished a master’s in dramaturgy and writing for performance at Goldsmiths, University of London.