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Research Network for Diversity, Education and Social Cohesion

(former NOW Working Group on Education and Diversity)

The NOW Research Network for Diversity, Education and Social Cohesion (abbr. NOW DESC) is an international and interdisciplinary group of researchers and practitioners in the field of education from Europe and the MENAT region (Middle East, North Africa and Turkey), engaged in researching and/or implementing projects addressing the inclusion of “newly arrived students” (NAS) in countries of transit and refuge, with a focus on the special needs of refugee children and all other deprived children. The research network is a co-operation between the Chair of the Study of Religions at the Faculty of Protestant Theology, University of Vienna and Act.Now.


Provide opportunities for encounter, exchange and cooperation between researchers and practitioners on issues of education, diversity and social cohesion from Europe and the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey (MENAT) region

Aims to:

Exploring, sharing and documenting research and promising practices addressing pathways to educational resilience, both in the field of formal and informal education from Europe and the MENAT region

Curator & Host

Viola Raheb, Researcher, Faculty of Protestant Theology, Chair of the Study of Religions, University of Vienna


Nihad Bunar, Professor, Stockholm University
Sílvia Carrasco, Professor, Autonomous University of Barcelona
Maurice Crul, Professor, University of Amsterdam
Lutine de Wal Pastoor, Senior Researcher, Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies
Rima Doany, Executive Director, Ana Aqra Organisation
Lina Farouqi, Regional Director, Middle East Children’s Institute
Annette Korntheuer, Member of the Executive Board, Netzwerk Flüchtlingsforschung
Ayşe Lale Hazar, Project Director, ODGEDER – Organization of Positive Behavior Support
Barbara Herzog-Punzenberger, Department Manager Education Research, University of Linz
Wolfram Reiss, Professor, University of Vienna – Institute of Systematic Theology and Religious Studies
Maha Shuayb, Director, Centre for Lebanese Studies
Josef Zollneritsch, HR Dr., Department Head, Landesschulrat Steiermark

Meetings up to now

1 Meeting: 25 – 27 June 2017 in Vienna
2 Meeting: 24 – 27 September 2017 in Beirut
3 Meeting: 11 November 2017 in Vienna
4 Meeting: 21 – 23 April 2018 in Vienna
5 Meeting: 22 – 23 June 2018 in Mannswörth/Austria
6 Meeting: 30 October – 2 November 2018 in Amman

Implemented projects

Video Project “Pathways to Educational Resilience and Inclusion
Portrays of promising practices addressing major challenges faced in the inclusion of “newly arrived students” in countries of transit and refuge that are located in the field of formal and informal education. The videos are meant to disseminate knowledge, provide information and inspiration to people who work with this group in different contexts and under different circumstances. The first three videos address the necessity of tapping into the funds of knowledge of refugee students.