WASHINGTON—The No Lost Generation Student Initiative, founded in 2013 at GW, is an independent consortium of student organizations with partnerships throughout the world, whose mission is to focus attention on the plight of children affected by the Syrian crisis. Although No Lost Generation began its work in reaction to the Syrian crisis, it has expanded its mission to address refugee crises around the globe. The movement connects student leaders, humanitarian workers, and public and private sector employees to work together to support refugees.
No Lost Generation fundraises to support aid organizations, raises participation by working with resettled families and programs (such as Skype tutoring refugees), and advocates for refugees and migrants by telling their stories. The threat of ‘losing’ a generation of young people is real risk when “refugee” is a status that many children and adolescents must adopt for ever longer periods, during which they do not receive education. Therefore, it is NLG’s goal to provide educational resources to refugees wherever they are.
Matthew Donovan, GW student director of NLG says, “we’ve been amazed at the interest nation-wide in our movement … working with a virtual internship program through the Department of State, we have 70 students at 45 different universities replicating our student group on their campus.” NLG student volunteers have been able to travel to UN World Headquarters to participate in a Youth Conference for Sustainable Development, represent NLG at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, and visit refugees from Aleppo, Syria, among other activities.
Donovan remarks that, “The Elliott School has been tremendous in their support for our organization and we are grateful for this. The Elliott School gives funding to support our activities...without this financial support, we would not be able to be as successful as we have been.”
Donovan noted the support of Elliott School faculty including the group’s advisor, Michael Barnett, who, he says has been “a wealth of knowledge and a tremendous resource.” He also credits Dean Reuben Brigety and Ambassador Skip Gnehm for their support and feedback. According to Donovan, the most exciting part of being a member of NLG is “the ability as students to have a direct impact on the lives of refugee children, around the world,” and that it is motivating to have “a tangible opportunity to assist those going through perhaps the hardest period of their lives.” Matthew believes “it is our responsibility to lift those and support those who face incredible challenges, and my opportunity to work with No Lost Generation puts me in a position to do this.” When others like him join the movement, its power has no bounds.