Economic Inclusion & Livelihood Development of Young Refugees in the MENA 

Thursday 12th & Friday 13th September

Istanbul | Turkey

For young refugees, the right to work is vital. Harnessing refugee’s skills can also benefit local economies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). However, many challenges restrict access to the labour market in hosting countries and they often face exploitation, discrimination and arrest by turning to informal economies. This conference identifies various methods of enhancing economic inclusion of refugees and host communities in MENA, such as employment and skills development; entrepreneurship opportunities; access to financial and technical resources and advisory services for existing SMEs.


Organising partner:                            With sponsorship from:


Bart (Bartholomeus) van Bolhuis

Mr. Bart (Bartholomeus) van Bolhuis – Consul General of the Kingdom of...
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Khemais El-Gazzah

Prior to joining ISFD, Mr. El-Gazzah was the Chief Operating Officer of...
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Jamal Al Nouri

Chairman of the Board of Sheikh Abdulla Alnouri Society from 2014 till...
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Kemal Kirisci

TÜSIAD senior fellow and director of the Center on the United States...
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Workshops: Day 1

On Thursday 12th September, participants have the opportunity to attend one of the following workshops:

MSME support and entrepreneurship development towards the economic recovery for refugees and host communities

Participants will talk about their role and effort in supporting refugees through...
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How the private sector can facilitate access to the labour market for refugees

What do refugees need to be qualified for work and labour market...
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Resource mobilisation by East-West development partners to enhance economic resilience through entrepreneurship development

Under this topic, a proposed potential panel of donors suggested by SPARK,...
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The role of NGOs and local partners in leading displaced and host communities towards prosperity

Participants of this workshop will include local authorities, development agencies, NGOs &...
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Encouraging woman entrepreneurship among refugees in the Middle East

Tools for the capacity development of women entrepreneurs among refugees will be...
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The role of higher vocational education in facilitating access to the labour market

An interactive presentation will be feature the multiple approaches followed by the...
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Workshops: Day 2

On Friday 13th September, participants have the opportunity to attend two of the following workshops:

Morning: Scale Up

Jobs are created by scaling growth-oriented SMEs through coaching and facilitating SMEs...
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Morning: Start Up

Jobs are created supporting promising high potential entrepreneurs with coaching and access...
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Afternoon: Match Up

Enabling target beneficiaries to access jobs through market relevant (higher) vocational education...
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Afternoon: Skill Up

More entrepreneurs emerge by making curricula more market-relevant and introducing entrepreneurship training
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Thursday 12th September

08:30 Welcome reception
09:15 Official opening
09:30 Keynote Speaker
09:45 Keynote Speaker
10:00 Keynote Speaker
10:15 Keynote Speaker
10:30 Break
11:00 Panel – Contribution of Syrian refugees: case studies from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan & Iraq
11:45 Talk of the Day 1
12:00 Talk of the Day 2
12:15 Keynote Speaker
12:30 Lunch
13:30 Workshops
15:30 Break
16:00 Activity
16:15 Panel – Triangular coalition for improved access to finance for refugee SMEs
17:00 Outcomes
17:20 Closing and next steps
17:45 End
18:00 Dinner


Friday 13th September

09:00 Workshops
12:00 Lunch