Bleu Dreamers
Campus News, Newsletter

Dillard University Team Excels in the 2nd Annual CIEE UNHCR Student Challenge

The Dillard University team, known as the Bleu Dreamers, were selected among 36 semi-finalists in the 2nd Annual CIEE UNHCR Student Challenge, and will be traveling to London to present their idea for a chance at the top prize. 

The Bleu Dreamers are comprised of:

  • Lucine Flores (Captain) –  Criminal Justice, Junior (New Orleans, LA)
  • Keymoni Coleman – Criminal Justice, Computer Science minor, Junior (Killeen, TX)
  • Maisha Chinagozi – Chemistry, Junior (Alexandria, LA)
  • Roderick Morning-Trice – Political Science, Sophomore (Birmingham, AL)

Among the 130 global teams that participated in Round 1, 36 teams representing 47 universities, 21 countries, and 132 students were selected to advance to Round 2 to compete. Of the 47 universities represented, Dillard University is the only HBCU. 

Coleman shared that the experience deepened their understanding of refugee challenges and fostered international collaboration. “As a group of Black students from Dillard University, an HBCU, this journey not only broadened our global perspective but also deepened our understanding of refugees’ unique challenges. Engaging with diverse experts and leaders dedicated to refugee support allowed us to gather invaluable insights and foster international collaboration. This experience enriched our study, equipping us with the knowledge and inspiration to advocate for and implement effective educational strategies for refugees worldwide.”

The team’s ultimate goal was to benefit forcibly displaced and refugee youth. They envisioned implementing practical solutions to improve lives and provide opportunities for this marginalized population. Their efforts are a beacon of hope in the face of global challenges.

This collaboration between CIEE and the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, called upon student leaders worldwide to propose solutions for increasing access to higher education and livelihood opportunities for forcibly displaced youth. 

“This challenge has prompted us to think closely about the lack of access to education globally and on a local scale. Additionally, participating in creating a solution to combat this set of issues, we have been charged with the invocation of our institution’s mission statement, challenging us to engage with the world in efforts that cultivate leaders who live ethically, think and communicate precisely, but also act courageously to make the world a better place,” said Morning-Trice.

Participating in this challenge provided valuable skills and networking opportunities similar to a global internship and allowed the Bleu Dreamers to engage with international experts and policymakers. 

Attending the CIEE Global Internship Conference in London will broaden their cultural horizons and offer unique insights into addressing global challenges. Educators, industry leaders, and policymakers have convened to explore best practices and innovative approaches in international internships. The theme of this year’s conference is “Collaborating to Shape Future Talent,” and programming is focused on the importance of partnerships in preparing students for the future workforce. 

Associate Vice President for Student Success and Chief Student Affairs Officer, Dr. Courtney Williams, expressed his pride in our students, “Our team, students with various majors, hometowns, and campus involvement, intentionally reflects the theme and showcases Dillard’s commitment to cultivating global leaders who positively impact the world. I am so proud of the work done by the Bleu Dreamers! This collaborative effort bridged theory and practice by allowing students to use knowledge and skills from classroom learning, student organizations, and career preparation to solve a global issue. 

The Bleu Dreamers’ dedication to driving positive change and their commitment to Dillard University’s mission of cultivating ethical and courageous leaders exemplify the spirit of innovation and global citizenship within the university community. “As we work towards our goal of cultivating leaders, it’s important that we also expose them to opportunities that allow them to actively be a voice in solving global issues. Their performance in this challenge is a testament to the quality of education they receive here at Dillard University,” said Director of The Center for Career and Education, Dwanna Toney. 

We celebrate their achievements and look forward to their continued impact on addressing global challenges and making a difference in the world.

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