Refugees show pictures of their families as they wait to cross the Slovenia-Austria border.
Srdjan Zivulovic / Reuters

In January this year, when the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe had hit its peak—more than a million had crossed into Europe over the course of 2015—the U.S. State Department and Google hosted a forum of over 100 technology experts. The goal was to “bridge the education gap for Syrian refugee children.” Speaking to the group assembled at Stanford University, Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a $1.7 million prize “to develop a smartphone app that can help Syrian children learn how to read and improve their wellbeing.” The competition, known as EduApp4Syria, is being run by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and is supported by the Australian government and the French mobile company Orange.

Less than a month later, a group called Techfugees brought together over 100 technologists for a daylong brainstorm in New York City focused exclusively on education solutions. “We are facing the

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  • MARK LATONERO is a Fellow at the Data & Society Research Institute in New York City, where he leads the Data and Human Rights program. He is also a Visiting Scholar at New York University. For the past five years, he led the Technology and Human Trafficking Initiative as a Research Professor and Research Director at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy.
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